Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Saturday that Republicans “should hold the same position” they did in 2016 to decide who should fill the Supreme Court vacancy.
Flake’s comments came in a tweet in the days following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served for more than 25 years as a left-leaning member on the court.
“In 2016, nine months before an election, we Republicans said that the next president should fill a Supreme Court vacancy,” Flake wrote.
In 2016, nine months before an election, we Republicans said that the next president should fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Today, six weeks before an election, we should hold the same position. Preserving the institution of the Senate should be paramount to any political gain.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) September 19, 2020
Flake also stated that “preserving the institution of the Senate” by waiting until the presidential election concludes is “paramount to any political gain.”
“Today, six weeks before an election, we should hold the same position,” Flake added. “Preserving the institution of the Senate should be paramount to any political gain.”
Both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have stated that they plan to move forward quickly with finding a replacement for Ginsburg’s seat.
In 2016, Senate Republicans did not hold a vote for former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland due to it being an election year.
Other GOP senators who have recommended similar proposals of waiting until the presidential election is over to fill the seat include Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election … I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” Collins said in a statement. “In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”
In a statement released over the weekend, Murkowski said her previous “position has not changed” and that she feels “the same standard must apply” to fill the vacancy as it did in 2016.
“I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia,” Murkowski said.
“We are now even closer to the 2020 election, less than two months out, and I believe the same standard must apply,” Murkowski added.