Sep 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Dems on Senate Judiciary tell Graham to delay filling Ginsburg's seat

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaking in August.

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaking in August.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), called on Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to delay filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the Supreme Court until after the presidential inauguration.

What it matters: Democrats cited the Senate GOP's refusal to consider President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland following Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016. Republicans at that time claimed voters should choose the president and the president should select the justice, since the vacancy occurred during an election year.

What they're saying: “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,” Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee said to Graham.

  • “There cannot be one set of rules for a Republican President and one set for a Democratic President, and considering a nominee before the next inauguration would be wholly inappropriate.”

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."

  • 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.
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