Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), one of two Republicans to publicly oppose the Senate moving to confirm President Donald Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee before the Nov. 3 election, said on Saturday she will meet with the nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
“For weeks I have stated that I do not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to an election. But today the President exercised his constitutional authority to nominate an individual to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” Murkowski said in a statement shortly after Trump nominated Barrett.
“I welcome the opportunity to meet with the Supreme Court nominee, just as I did in 2016.”
Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) were the only GOP senators to say they didn’t think the Senate should vote on filling the vacancy that opened up due to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.
“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 Sept. 20, two days after Ginsburg’s passing.
“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.
Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016, but many argue the situation now is different because the party controls the Senate and the presidency.
Murkowski, who is up for reelection in 2022, later left open the possibility that she would vote for Trump’s nominee even though she opposes moving forward with the nomination.
If she sides with other GOP senators, it’s possible Collins will be the only “no” vote on Barrett’s confirmation.
Collins said last week that she’ll vote against Trump’s nominee, no matter who it is.
Both voted to confirm Barrett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in 2017, as did three Democrats: Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
Donnelly is no longer in office and Manchin and Kaine have said they plan on opposing Barrett this time around.
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, giving them some leeway since a simple majority is all that’s needed to confirm judicial nominees. Vice President Mike Pence can break ties.