Sep 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pence: Trump has "an obligation" to name new Supreme Court nominee

Mike Pence and Donald Trump.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence told "CBS Evening News" on Monday that President Trump has "an obligation under the Constitution" to put forward a nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed to give Trump's nominee a vote, despite opposing then-President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland following Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016, on the grounds that voters should decide in the next election who is appointed to the court.

  • Pence said the circumstances have changed since 2016 because the same party now holds control of the White House and the Senate.

What else he's saying: "President Trump believes that he has an obligation under the Constitution of the United States to put forward a nominee for the Supreme Court," Pence said Monday.

  • "There have been 29 times that there have been vacancies since George Washington through Barack Obama. In all 29 cases, the president has made a nomination to the Supreme Court during an election year. And President Trump believes that it's his responsibility and his duty to do that again."

Worth noting: Ginsburg's death — coming 46 days before Election Day — is the second-shortest amount of time between an opening on the court and an election, behind only the vacancy caused by Justice Robert Taney's death in October 1846, CBS News notes.

Where it stands: Two GOP senators — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — have said they oppose holding a vote before the election. That means two more defections would force McConnell to delay until at least the lame-duck session of Congress.

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