As the potential confirmation of President Donald Trump’s third Supreme Court nominee looms, Republicans are standing their ground on their right to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, despite Democrats’ uproar.
One lone Republican, however, has been quite vocal about her decision to vote against nominee Amy Cohen Barrett, who hasn’t seemed to fail any of the hurtles any Republican has put in front of her (or the Democrats hurtles either, for that matter, other than that pesky part about being a conservative).
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine took a shot at not just the president’s nominee, but the party at large when she announced that she wouldn’t be voting for Barrett because she said she wants to be “fair and consistent” in her dealings with justice nominees.
“Prior to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, I stated that, should a vacancy on the Supreme Court arise, the Senate should follow the precedent set four years ago and not vote on a nominee prior to the presidential election.,” Collins said in a statement according to Fox News, adding that “Because this vote is occurring prior to the election, I will vote against the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.”
The left-leaning Republican said in her statement that she believed her vote against confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court is not meant as a slight against the jurist but instead is a matter of “being fair and consistent.”
The complaint being made by Democrats is that the same situation was faced in 2016 after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia at a time when former President Barack Obama wanted to appoint D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the position. However, the Republican-controlled Senate with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the helm held the spot open till after the 2016 election and allowed Trump to nominate a candidate that eventually filled the position.
Democrats claim that McConnell’s contradictory actions now, with the confirmation happening a week before the presidential election, is unfair and inconsistent with his previous actions. However, it is still within the leader’s purview to decide what business the Senate takes up, a power of decision making that McConnell hasn’t shrunk away from in recent years.
According to McConnell, however, the key difference between 2020 and 2016 is that the same party controls both the White House and the Senate.
“You have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a Senate controlled by a party different from the president filled a vacancy on the Supreme Court that was created in the middle of a presidential election year,” McConnell previously told Fox News. However, Collins appeared to be siding with Democrats in her statement.
Collins in her statement, however, appears to be agreeing with McConnell’s detractors.
“When the Senate considers nominees to the United States Supreme Court, it is particularly important that we act fairly and consistently, using the same set of rules, no matter which political party is in power,” she said. “What I have concentrated on is being fair and consistent, and I do not think it is fair nor consistent to have a Senate confirmation vote prior to the election.”
One other Republican that has been less than delighted with the proceedings is Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who was believed to be on the fence but announced her support on Saturday for Barrett. However, she is still opposed to the Senate taking up the matter so close to the election, according to Fox News.
“I will be a yes,” Murkowski said Saturday in a floor speech. “I have no doubt about her intellect. I have no doubt about Judge Barrett’s judicial temperament. I have no doubt about her capability to do the job — and to do it well.”
Republicans, however, currently have the votes needed to confirm Barrett with the necessary simple majority in a vote that is expected to take place sometime late on Monday.