Cotton says Senate to move ‘without delay' on Ginsburg replacement, Coons seeks delay

"So if they were going to set a new precedent that in an election year there shouldn't be a hearing, meetings, votes, they should live by it," Sen. Coons said.

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U.S. Supreme Court in 2017
U.S. Supreme Court in 2017
(Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
Updated: September 20, 2020 - 11:25pm

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Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, recently added to President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court picks, said Sunday the Senate "will move forward without delay" once the president names his nominee to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

Sen. Chris Coons,D-Del., during an interview on the same Fox News Sunday program argued that Republicans set a precedent in 2016 by refusing to move ahead with President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland and that they should abide by that precedent now.

Coons said the nomination of Garland came many months before the 2016 election whereas this new vacancy on the nation's high court has arisen much closer to Election Day and voting has already begun in half of states.

"So if they were going to set a new precedent that in an election year there shouldn't be a hearing, meetings, votes, they should live by it," Coons said.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a statement on Sunday noted that she opposes considering any appointment to fill the vacancy prior to the election.

“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,” Murkowski noted in the statement.

“I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia,” she explained. “We are now even closer to the 2020 election — less than two months out — and I believe the same standard must apply,” she said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a statement Friday following the death of Justice Ginsburg said that the Senate will hold a vote on Trump's forthcoming nominee.

"In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year," McConnell said.

"By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," he said.

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