Senator’s Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have stated publicly they do not support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s move to bring a nomination from President Trump to the Senate floor for a vote before the November 3rd, 2020 General Election. President Trump has indicated he will nominate a female next week.
Both Collins and Murkowski claimed precedent in their decisions citing McConnell’s refusal to bring President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to the Senate floor for a vote. Collins and Murkowski stated they believe equal treatment should be given to any nomination by President Trump in an election year.
“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. We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply,” Murkowski said in a statement on September 20th.
But McConnell has been quick to point out a fundamental difference between the 2016 General Election and the upcoming November election. In 2016, Republicans held the Senate while the Progressive-Democrat Obama administration held the White House. McConnell insists that the Republican-led Senate in 2016 was elected to reign in an unruly White House that was testing the limits of the US Constitution.
“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…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,” McConnell said in a statement last Friday.
Nowhere in the US Constitution is there a caveat to affect a hiatus in filling a US Supreme Court vacancy because of an impending election. The Constitution also does not recognize the notion of a “lame duck” presidency.