Vulnerable Senate Republicans back push to delay nominee
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A handful of politically vulnerable Senate Republicans are supporting a push to delay moving forward with a new Supreme Court nominee until after the presidential election. 

Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteLobbying World On the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs MORE (N.H.), Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRemembering Tom Coburn's quiet persistence Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner GOP seeks up to 0 billion to maximize financial help to airlines, other impacted industries MORE (Wis.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senator to donate 2 months of salary in coronavirus fight Senators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Some Democrats growing antsy as Senate talks drag on MORE (Ohio) and Pat Toomey (Pa.)— all from Democratic-leaning states —each suggested separately over the weekend that President Obama's successor should fill the seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia's death.
 
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"Given that we are already well into the presidential election process and that the Supreme Court appointment is for a lifetime, it makes sense to give the American people a more direct say in this critical decision," Toomey said in a statement Monday. "The next Court appointment should be made by the newly-elected president."
 
Ayotte echoed his comments, adding that Senate "should not move forward with the confirmation process until the American people have spoken by electing a new president.”
 
The four senators — as well as Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkOn the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump Biden campaign releases video to explain 'what really happened in Ukraine' Why Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Ill.), who has remained tight-lipped since Scalia's death — are the GOP's most vulnerable incumbents, putting them at the center of the battle for Senate control.
 
 
The push all but guarantees a battle ahead with Obama, who has said he intends to nominate someone and pressured the Senate to hold a vote.
 
McConnell, who has to defend 24 Senate seats, has tried to underscore that Republicans can govern going into the elections, however. 
 
Other senators up for reelection this year — including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyLawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Pelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus MORE (R-Iowa), Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senator suspending campaign fundraising, donating paycheck amid coronavirus pandemic Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Juan Williams: Biden's promises on women are a big deal MORE (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLoeffler traded .4M in stocks as Congress responded to coronavirus pandemic Before this pandemic ends, intel agencies should prepare for a world of threats DOJ probing stock transactions made by lawmakers ahead of coronavirus crisis: report MORE (R-N.C.) — have backed McConnell's strategy, as have several GOP presidential candidates.
  
They hope that delaying a nomination would allow a potential Republican president to pick a successor for Scalia, long considered a conservative pillar on the Supreme Court. 
 
But the move has already riled Democrats, who have repeatedly slammed Republicans over the pace of judicial nominations, and outside groups. They argue that Republicans are neglecting their constitutional duties by trying to leave a Supreme Court seat vacant for roughly a year.  
 
"The most vulnerable GOP incumbents have fallen in line to support this unprecedented obstruction of the constitutional process," Lauren Passalacqua, the national press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement. "This is a disservice to their constituents and to the Constitution they swore an oath to uphold."
 
Scalia, 79, died during a vacation at a Texas hunting resort over the weekend.