Cruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed
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When asked about taking up Supreme Court nominees under a Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary MORE presidency, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE (R-Texas) said history shows the Supreme Court can function with fewer than nine justices.

“You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” he said Wednesday when asked whether a GOP Senate would vote on Clinton’s nominees, according to The Washington Post.

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“There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices,” the former Republican presidential candidate added.

“I would note, just recently, that Justice [Stephen] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s the debate we are going to have.”

Cruz added voters need a “check and balance” on the presidency, regardless of whether Clinton or Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE wins on Election Day.

“I think for those of us who care passionately about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, who care about free speech and religious liberty and the Second Amendment, the best way to protect those rights is to win on Election Day so that we see strong conservatives nominated to the court, and maintain a Republican majority in the Senate to confirm those strong conservatives. And that’s what I’m fighting to do.”

Cruz was campaigning in Colorado on behalf of GOP Senate candidate Darryl Glenn in his race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennett, the Post reported.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last February has left the Supreme Court with a vacant seat during a presidential election cycle.

President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland as his replacement in March, but Senate Republicans have refused to hold a hearing or vote on his nomination.

Senate Republicans argue Obama’s successor should pick Scalia’s replacement.

Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has frequently vowed he will nominate conservatives like Scalia to the nation’s highest court if elected.

Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have debated whether taking up Garland’s nomination is better now rather than running the risk of Clinton picking a more liberal justice should the Democratic presidential nominee defeat Trump on Nov. 8.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyAnother voice of reason retires Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020 MORE (R-Iowa) on Tuesday said the Senate cannot block potential Supreme Court nominations from Clinton if she becomes president.

“We will clearly vet, and then once that’s done, we will make a decision whether we will vote for or against, but…if that new president happens to be Hillary, we can’t just simply stonewall,” the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee told reporters during a conference call.

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt MORE (D-Nev.) late Wednesday said Cruz's remarks show the need for Democrats to win the Senate majority. 

"Ted Cruz and [Sen.] John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Will Trump choose megalomania over country? Trump attacks Meghan McCain and her family MORE [R-Ariz.] may have given away the Republican game plan on the Supreme Court," he said in an email sent on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee's (PCCC) to its members. "And we need to treat it like the constitutional crisis it will be if Democrats don't take back the Senate majority."
 
"That means the Supreme Court could dwindle to seven, then maybe six Justices. It would turn our justice system and our democracy on its head. The Founding Fathers would roll over in their graces," he added.
  
The Nevada lawmaker additionally called on progressives to back Democratic candidates in six tight Senate races in battleground states.