Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said late Friday that the winner of the November election should decide who will fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court caused by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ginsburg died at her Washington home Friday. She was 87.
Biden, speaking to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, called Ginsburg a “beloved figure.”
“There is no doubt -- let me be clear -- that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said, according to The Hill.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said in a statement hours after the court announced Ginsburg’s death.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told The Associated Press that McConnell “made his position clear in 2016” when he refused to hold a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick during an election year.
“To jam through a lifetime appointment to the country’s highest court -- particularly to replace an icon like Justice Ginsburg -- would be the height of hypocrisy.” Feinstein told reporters.
Biden also mentioned the Senate’s refusal to consider Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.
Biden said Scalia died with “almost 10 months to go” before the election and that McConnell cited it being an election year as the reason a hearing shouldn’t take place.
Trump replaced Scalia with Neil Gorsuch.
Biden, who chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee when Ginsburg was confirmed to the Supreme Court, said he hopes the next few days will focus on “the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy.”
The flag at the White House was lowered to half-staff late Friday.
Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., called on the Senate to choose a replacement before the presidential election, The Washington Post reported. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who Trump said is on his shortlist for a Supreme Court vacancy, told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Trump should nominate a new justice soon.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told Iowa PBS in July that the Senate should vote on any nominations that Trump makes this year, regardless of the election result.
“(If) it is a lame-duck session, I would support going ahead with any hearings that we might have,” Ernst said. “And if it comes to an appointment prior to the end of the year, I would be supportive of that.”
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told the New York Times this month that she would not support seating a new justice in October.
“I think that’s too close, I really do,” she told the Times.
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