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Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016

Former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeOn The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Trump looms large over fractured Arizona GOP Why Republican politicians are sticking with Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) said Saturday that Republicans should “hold the same position” on filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year as they did in 2016. 

His comments come as President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE and GOP Senate leaders are moving on a Supreme Court nominee following the death of Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgOcasio-Cortez says Breyer should retire from Supreme Court Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema Juan Williams: Time for Justice Breyer to go MORE Friday evening.

"In 2016, nine months before an election, we Republicans said that the next president should fill a Supreme Court vacancy,” Flake, who retired in 2019, tweeted Saturday. 

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“Today, six weeks before an election, we should hold the same position," he continued. "Preserving the institution of the Senate should be paramount to any political gain.”

In 2016 the Senate GOP blocked a vote for then-President Obama’s nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGarland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Man accused of punching, choking flight attendant on train at Denver airport DOJ forming firearms trafficking strike forces in effort to reduce violent crime MORE because it was during an election year. Those same leaders are now calling for a vote on a Supreme Court nominee less than two months before the election. 

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Flake, a frequent critic of Trump, is one of a few Republicans who have come out as opposing a vote on a Supreme Court nominee. 

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsPelosi quashes reports on Jan. 6 select committee White House advisers huddle with Senate moderates on infrastructure Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (R-Maine) — a moderate defending her seat in a state Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE won in 2016 — said Saturday that she would not support a vote on a nominee this year, which Trump pointed out during a campaign rally Saturday evening. 

Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.), who is up for reelection and behind in the polls in another state Clinton won, skirted the issue of timing during a town hall Saturday.