Democrat Senator and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee Diane Feinstein is urging Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham to reconsider allowing a vote on a nominee to replace a Supreme Court vacancy ahead of November’s election.
President Trump said Republicans have an “obligation” to hold a vote for a still not-yet-named appointee, and Graham agreed. He announced he would absolutely hold a vote ahead of the election.
“We were all saddened to learn of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing last night,” Feinstein wrote in a letter on Saturday. “Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer and a powerful voice for equal justice and the rights of all Americans.”
“In light of the vacancy created by Justice Ginsburg’s death, we call upon you to state unequivocally and publicly that you will not consider any nominee to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat until after the next President is inaugurated,” she requested.
The California Democrat, who signed the letter alongside every Democratic member of the Committee, pointed to the chairman’s own words and actions in 2016 with respect to then-President Obama’s appointment of Judge Merrick Garland.
“When Justice Scalia died on February 13, 2016, Senate Republicans refused to consider Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to fill that seat. Senate Republicans immediately argued that the vacancy should not be filled until a new president was in office,” she wrote. “You joined other Senate Republicans in arguing against the Senate’s consideration of any nominee.”
Feinstein concluded: “We urge you to adhere to your own words and commit publicly that you will not consider any nominee to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat until after the next President is inaugurated.”
The big picture: Graham said Saturday that he plans to support a vote on President Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy, while the president said Republicans have an “obligation” to fill it “without delay.”
— Advertisement —
Despite his 2016 opposition to confirming Garland, Graham said he supports filling Ginsburg’s seat this election year because of Democrats’ treatment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s changes to circuit-court-judge nomination rules.
“If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election,” Graham said at the 2018 Atlantic Festival.