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Democratic senator calls on Republicans to 'live with the precedent they set' on Supreme Court confirmations

Democratic senator calls on Republicans to 'live with the precedent they set' on Supreme Court confirmations
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate MORE (D-Del.) called on Senate Republicans on Sunday to "live with the precedent they set" and not rush a confirmation to the Supreme Court after Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSupreme Court sees new requests for religious COVID-19 carve-outs Cuomo likens COVID-19 to the Grinch: 'The season of viral transmission' For Thanksgiving, the Supreme Court upholds religious liberty MORE’s death.

Coons, an ally of Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Federal student loan payment suspension extended another month Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week MORE, told “Fox News Sunday” that he plans to talk to GOP colleagues in the upper chamber this week to convince them to "respect tradition" and follow their 2016 precedent that a Supreme Court justice should not be confirmed during an election year. 

“I’m going to be working this weekend, this week to reach across the aisle and see if I can persuade some friends to respect tradition, to respect the precedent they set in 2016 and to let the voters decide,” he said. 

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks GOP senators back Christian school's push for COVID-19 carve-out Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Ky.) and the Senate Republicans in 2016 blocked a confirmation vote for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandThe five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Feinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight McConnell pushed Trump to nominate Barrett on the night of Ginsburg's death: report MORE, nine months ahead of the election. Garland was nominated after Justice Anton Scalia died in February 2016. 

The Delaware Democrat said on Sunday that there’s a “huge amount at stake," adding that a wrong move could “further divide our country” and “dishonor Justice Ginsburg’s legacy.”

“The legitimacy of the court will be harmed by its further politicization, just 44 days before an election when the Republican majority just four years ago ... insisted on keeping that seat open for nearly 10 months,” he said. 

“I think it further suggests to the American people that this is all about politics, not about principle,” he added. 

Coons also asserted that the election has started in at least half of the states as Americans vote early and by mail voting during the coronavirus pandemic. 

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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE said he expects to nominate a woman to fill her vacancy on the court this week, and McConnell committed to giving a Trump nominee a vote on the Senate floor, despite blocking Garland’s confirmation in 2016.