MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg comes the question of who will replace her — and when.
President Donald Trump believes it’s his duty.
“Now it says the president is supposed to fill the seat, right? And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to fill the seat,” Trump said.
His Democratic presidential challenger, Joe Biden, believes otherwise.
“And as the new president, I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor,” Biden said.
With just a month and a half to go until the election, there’s debate over whether or not the United States Senate should vote on a nominee from President Trump, or wait until the election results are in.
Supreme Court nominees in the past have typically taken months to confirm. With an election looming in just over six weeks, it would be have to be quick, but it’s not impossible, according to Larry Jacobs, political science professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
“We have no precedent in the modern era for a supreme court nominee being run through the process,” Jacobs said.
Republicans control the Senate by a slim margin, and only need a majority votes. Jacobs says the senators to watch will be those that are up for reelection in contentious races.
“They’re starting to come out saying, ‘I don’t want to vote on this before the election because it would almost certainly guarantee their loss,'” he said.
Republican Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski said over the weekend they opposed taking up a nomination before Election Day.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in 2016 the Senate would not vote on President Barak Obama’s nominee until after the election.
McConnell said this time is different because the president and Senate are in the same party.
Jacobs says it’s possible the Senate could confirm a nomination after the November election, but before a new congress comes in in January.
“The Republicans could absolutely fill a nominee during the lame duck session. It’s never been done, it would be considered bad behavior,” Jacobs said. “But they have the law behind them.”
On Sunday, Republican Party of Minnesota Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan gave this statement to WCCO:
Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer, served her country well and was a dedicated public servant. President Trump has shared his prospective SCOTUS nominee list, is committed to nominate a woman to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat and has a constitutional obligation to our country to do so. There have been 29 vacancies on the court since the founding of this great republic, and all 29 times the president has sent a nomination to the Senate, regardless of timing. The notion that there has been a practice or tradition against filling a Supreme Court vacancy that arises during an election year at the end of a president’s first term is baseless, and we look forward to the President and Senate fulfilling their constitutional duties to our country.
Trump said on Saturday that he plans to nominate a woman to replace Bader Ginsburg. That nominee is expected to be announced this week.