ST. PAUL — Days after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, Minnesota U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith say the Senate should hold off on confirming a replacement for Ginsburg until after November’s election.
The two Democrats’ arguments come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is committed to holding a Senate vote on a Trump nominee before election day, less than two months away. Such a move would counter Senate Republicans’ own precedent set in March 2016 when they blocked then-President Barack Obama’s supreme court nominee, saying it was too close to the 2016 general election.
In a series of television interviews, Klobuchar has made the case that Republicans set the precedent — which she dubbed “the McConnell rule” — on election year judicial picks themselves in 2016. On Sunday, Sept. 20, she told Meet the Press that Republicans have “got to follow their own rules.”
In some states, including Minnesota, Americans are already casting their ballots for the general election. Klobuchar told Meet the Press, “The people pick the president and the president picks the justice. That is how this works.” In a separate Sunday interview on State of the Union, Klobuchar said anticipated landmark SCOTUS decisions on the Affordable Care Act, climate change and labor rights are “on the line.”
As a member of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, which will be tasked to consider any Trump pick before the election, Klobuchar told CBS This Morning that her current focus is “really appealing to (Senate Republicans’) sense of democracy, their sense of justice” on to block a nomination before inauguration day.
On Monday afternoon, Smith chimed in on Twitter, saying, “No new Supreme Court Justice until after Inauguration Day.”
She elaborated in a Facebook post, saying that “Republicans set the precedent in 2016. The American people should have their say in a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”
“So for the next 43 days, we’ve got to organize and win this election. It’s what Ruth Bader Ginsburg would’ve wanted us to do,” she concluded.