Senate

Klobuchar: GOP can’t use ‘raw political power right in middle of an election’

Greg Nash

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Sunday the Republican Party set a precedent in 2016 in blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee ahead of and upcoming election and urged her Republican colleagues to block a vote on any appointee nominated by President Trump to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

“State of the Union” host Jake Tapper questioned Klobuchar on CNN on her comments pushing for a vote on Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, ahead of the 2016 election, asking her if the “Constitution is still clear,” as she said at the time in pushing for a vote.

“A new rule was set by our colleagues,” said Klobuchar, who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, of the Republicans’ decision to block Obama’s nominee in 2016. 

“They set this precedent, they can’t mess around and use raw political power right in the middle of an election,” she added. 

Tapper also noted that the 2016 Supreme Court vacancy occurred 10 months out from the election, whereas there are now fewer than 50 days ahead of the forthcoming presidential election. 

Klobuchar also said a “major difference” is the timing, noting that people in her state are “voting right now.” 

Asked what Democrats may do to try to stop a vote, Klobuchar said “a number of” GOP senators have said they think the next president should appoint a nominee. 

Tapper pressed Klobuchar, asking her if there is another plan other than trying to appeal to Republicans. 

“Right now, Ruth Bader Ginsburg just died recently. While Mitch McConnell has said what he has said, these people aren’t beholden to him,” Klobuchar responded, referring to the Republican Senate majority leader.

She added that different strategies should be considered, but again pointed to a number of Republican senators who are going to have to make a decision for themselves. 

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.), one of most vulnerable GOP senators facing reelection in the fall, has come out and said the Senate should not vote to confirm Ginsburg’s successor before the election. 

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) also said, ahead of Ginsburg’s death on Friday, that she would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee before the election. 

Republicans could not afford any more than three defections to confirm Trump’s nominee if all 47 members of the Senate Democratic caucus oppose Trump’s pick.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Donald Trump Jake Tapper Lisa Murkowski Merrick Garland Mitch McConnell Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sunday talk shows Susan Collins

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