Sen. Murkowski: Supreme Court Nominee Should Not Be Taken up Before Election

September 20, 2020 Updated: September 20, 2020

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said the Supreme Court nominee fight should not be taken up before the November election, becoming the second Republican senator to voice their opposition to vote in the coming weeks.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) also said she opposes voting on a Supreme Court nominee before November’s elections.

“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,” Murkowski said in a statement on Sunday.

“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. We are now even closer to the 2020 election—less than two months out—and I believe the same standard must apply,” she added.

Both President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have said they want to nominate a judge. Trump told a rally that he intends to nominate a woman for the position, following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Sept. 18.

Collins, meanwhile, said that “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.”

McConnell has not elaborated on the timing of the confirmation. If he wants to hold a vote before the election, he will have to hold together at least 50 of the 53 GOP members, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie, as the customary procedure.

Democrats will now have to win over two more GOP senators. Some have speculated that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the only Republican to vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial earlier this year, would be the third.

Democrats have largely objected to the nomination, with some threatening to “pack the court” with extra Supreme Court judges in 2021 if it permits.

When he took the stage Saturday night at a North Carolina rally to chants of “fill that seat,” the president said he would nominate his selection despite Democrats’ objections. And, after conducting what he joked was a “very scientific poll” of the Fayetteville crowd as to whether supporters wanted a man or a woman, he declared the choice would be “a very talented, very brilliant woman.”

“We win an election and those are the consequences,” said the president, who then seemed to signal that he’d be willing to accept a vote on his nominee during the lame-duck period after the election. “We have a lot of time. We have plenty of time. We’re talking about January 20th.”

With another nomination, it could potentially tip the scales in favor of conservatives, 6-3.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.