Two GOP Senators Oppose Filling Supreme Court Vacancy In 2020

Screengrab / senatormurkowski / YouTube ; Screengrab / PBS NewsHour / YouTube


Senators Lisa Murkowski and Chuck Grassley have said they would not support filling a Supreme Court vacancy this year.

New York magazine’s Eric Levitz reported in August that two Republican senators were not on board with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) willingness to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in the current election year.

  • McConnell explained last year that in his view, confirming a new justice in an election year is not problematic so long as the same party controls both the White House and the Senate. This would be different, he insists, than the situation with President Obama in 2016 when Republicans denied Merrick Garland a single hearing.

“Everything else changes,” the Senate leader explained, “what can’t be undone is a lifetime appointment to a young man or woman who believes in the quaint notion that the job of the judge is to follow the law.”

  • However, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) reportedly disagrees, saying last month that it would be a “double standard” to fill a vacancy this year and she “would not support it.”
  • Likewise, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who blocked Garland as former Judiciary Committee chairman, also said he felt that filling a vacancy would run contrary to the 2016 standard and "couldn't move forward with it” were he in charge.
  • Still, Levitz noted that “McConnell’s 53-seat majority gives him room to lose Murkowski, Grassley, and one more protest vote and still secure a justice’s confirmation (as Mike Pence would break any 50-50 tie).”

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