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

Former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFormer GOP lawmaker: Republican Party 'engulfed in lies and fear' Grassley to vote against Tanden nomination Klain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' 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 TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE and GOP Senate leaders are moving on a Supreme Court nominee following the death of Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgBill introduced to create RBG monument on Capitol Hill Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits McConnell backs Garland for attorney general 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 Brian GarlandGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks National Sheriffs' Association backs Biden pick for key DOJ role Why do we still punish crack and powder cocaine offenses differently? 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 CollinsOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior reverses Trump policy that it says restricted science | Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination | Republicans press Biden environment nominee on Obama-era policy Republicans, please save your party Susan Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination MORE (R-Maine) — a moderate defending her seat in a state Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHere's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Clinton praises Dolly Parton's cold shoulder top from vaccination: 'Shall we make this a trend?' Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC 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.