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Pence defends Trump's 'obligation' to nominate new Supreme Court justice

Pence defends Trump's 'obligation' to nominate new Supreme Court justice
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Vice President Pence defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE’s “obligation” to nominate a Supreme Court justice to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgBarrett sworn in as Supreme Court justice by Thomas Roberts to administer judicial oath to Barrett Tuesday Hillary Clinton tweets 'vote them out' after Senate GOP confirm Barrett MORE less than two months ahead of Election Day. 

“President Trump believes that he has an obligation under the Constitution of the United States to put forward a nominee to the Supreme Court,” Pence said in an interview with CBS News that aired Tuesday. 

“There’s been 29 times that there's been vacancies, since George Washington through Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump is cruising for a bruising State lawmaker Elizabeth Fiedler discusses the top issues for Pennsylvania voters Joe Biden's transit plan: Party like it's 2009 MORE. In all 29 cases the president has made a nomination to the Supreme Court during an election year, and President Trump believes that it’s his responsibility and his duty to do that again,” Pence added. 

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The vice president said it is the Senate’s role to advise and consent, adding that the administration is “working already with the Republican leadership in the Senate to make arrangements for the process to move forward.”

Asked if he thinks the process can be done ahead of Election Day, Pence said “we believe that it can.” 

“I know the president is anxious to move the process forward and we fully expect to make an announcement about the president's nominee to the Supreme Court before the week is out,” Pence said. 

The GOP has been defending the decision to push forward Trump’s nominee ahead of the election citing historical precedent, laying out a similar argument as Pence in his CBS interview. But Democrats have accused Republicans of hypocrisy, since Republicans blocked then-President Obama’s nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandBarrett sworn in as Supreme Court justice by Thomas Democrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation Roberts to administer judicial oath to Barrett Tuesday MORE after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died about 10 months ahead of the 2016 election. 

Democrats would need at least four Republicans to join them in blocking Trump’s nominee. But just two Republicans, Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsHouse Judiciary Republicans mockingly tweet 'Happy Birthday' to Hillary Clinton after Barrett confirmation Barrett sworn in as Supreme Court justice by Thomas Roberts to administer judicial oath to Barrett Tuesday MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHarris blasts GOP for confirming Amy Coney Barrett: 'We won't forget this' GOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg Murkowski predicts Barrett won't overturn Roe v. Wade MORE (Alaska), have said they don’t think the Senate should vote on a nominee before Election Day, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote Democrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation GOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg MORE (R-Ky.) has essentially locked down support within his caucus to move a nominee this year.