Senate

Alexander backs vote on Trump Supreme Court nominee: What Democrats ‘would do if the shoe were on the other foot’

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Sunday that he supports holding a Senate vote on President Trump’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday.

The Tennessee Republican, who is retiring at the end of his current term, released a statement saying that Democrats would have moved forward with a vote “if the shoe were on the other foot.”

“No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year,” he said. “The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it.” 

Alexander said the Senate has declined to confirm nominees to the Supreme Court during an election year when the president and Senate majority were from different parties. 

“Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot,” Alexander said. 

“I have voted to confirm Justices [John] Roberts, [Samuel] Alito, [Sonia] Sotomayor, [Neil] Gorsuch and [Brett] Kavanaugh based upon their intelligence, character and temperament,” he added. “I will apply the same standard when I consider President Trump’s nomination to replace Justice Ginsburg.”

Alexander’s announcement comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed to hold a Senate vote on a Trump nominee for the Supreme Court ahead of the election. Trump is expected to choose a woman to fill Ginsburg’s spot this week.

Calls from McConnell and other Republicans for a confirmation vote come after the majority leader blocked former President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland’s confirmation vote in 2016, nine months ahead of the election, out of concerns that it was too close to Election Day. 

The 2020 Election Day is 44 days away, although some voters already have participated in early voting or mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a Sunday speech, Democratic nominee Joe Biden called on Republican senators to “please follow your conscience” and avoid pushing through a Supreme Court nominee before the election.

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Tags 2020 election 2020 presidential election Donald Trump Ginsburg death Joe Biden Lamar Alexander Merrick Garland Mitch McConnell Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court Supreme Court confirmation Supreme Court nomination

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