President Trump is facing pressure from Democratic members of Congress not to fill a vacancy by deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on Friday.
It’s an election year, they say, pointing to Republicans’ own comments in 2016 when they refused a vote on Obama’s nominee to the court.
At the time, then-President Obama was intending to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and formally nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the Senate to take up for consideration.
It was an election year then, so Senate Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a vote to confirm Garland.
Amid questions of constitutionality, Ginsburg defended President Obama’s decision to appoint Garland.
But, her own comments in 2016 to support the constitutionality of Obama’s decision may also provide the legal framework for President Trump’s decision to fill her vacancy.
The Daily Wire reports Ginsburg’s comments at the time may have incidentally given President Trump the legal support he needs to fill her vacancy.
“I was wondering if you thought there were any valid constitutional arguments that would prevent President Obama from filling Justice Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court?” she was asked by an attendee after a speech at the Georgetown Law School in September 2016.
Ginsburg answered: “As you know, the president has the authority to name appointees to the Supreme Court, but he has to do so with the advice and consent of the Senate. And if the Senate does not act, as this current Senate is not acting, what can be done about it? Even if you could conceive of a testing lawsuit, what would the response be? ‘Well, you want us to vote? So we’ll vote no.’ But I do think that cooler heads will prevail; I hope sooner rather than later. The president is elected for four years not three years, so the powers that he has in year three continue into year four and maybe some members of the Senate will wake up and appreciate that that’s how it should be.”
RBG: "The President is elected for 4 years not 3 years, so the powers that he has in year 3 continue into year 4. Maybe some members of the Senate will wake up & appreciate that that's how it should be." pic.twitter.com/xU2GucJwNk
— Jewish Deplorable 🇺🇸 (@TrumpJew) September 21, 2020
At the time, Obama, then-Vice President Biden, and Senator Kamala Harris all argued in support of a president’s authority to nominate a judge to the Supreme Court—even in an election year.
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) September 21, 2020