Former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday, Sept. 18, called on the Senate not to appoint a Supreme Court justice to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, citing 2016 as precedent.
“There is no doubt, let me be clear, that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden told reporters. “This was the position of the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That’s the position the United States Senate must take today.”
Let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 19, 2020
Biden was referring to the Republican-controlled Senate’s refusal in 2016 to consider Obama’s nominee D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland ahead of the presidential election.
Obama echoed a similar sentiment, saying Ginsburg’s seat should be held open until next year.
“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” Obama said in a statement.
“A basic principle of the law—and of everyday fairness—is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment,” he continued. “The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle.
“As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican senators are now called to apply that standard,” Obama said.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday night that President Trump’s nominee “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
“Americans re-elected 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. Once again, we will keep our promise,” McConnell said.
President Trump praised Ginsburg as “an amazing woman who led an amazing life” when he learned of her death. But the president did not say whether he plans to put forward a nominee before the election.
President Trump had already nominated two justices to the bench, judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Last week, the president added another 20 names to his list of potential nominees for the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Biden has resisted calls to release a list of his potential Supreme Court nominees.
The Supreme Court on Friday announced that Ginsburg, who was 87 and was nominated to the high court in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton, died due to complications of pancreatic cancer.