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Sen. John Thune reiterates call to fill Supreme Court vacancy Tuesday

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 2:37 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Sen. John Thune called to fill the Supreme Court vacancy before the president’s term ends on the Senate floor Tuesday.

The Republican Majority Whip defended his party’s desire to go forward with selecting a new Supreme Court justice. The spot is open after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87 after battling pancreatic cancer.

“Predictably, Democrats are in an uproar over the fact that President Trump will nominate a third Supreme Court justice,” he said on the Senate floor. “They want Republicans to refuse to consider the president’s nomination before the president has even named anyone.”

In 2016, Thune sided with Republicans when they refused to consider Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, to the Supreme Court since the presidential primary had begun.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called this the “Biden-Schumer Rule” where Supreme Court vacancies in an election year where different parties occupy the Senate majority and White House should be filled by whoever wins the election.

“You would think that after the Republican majority led a historic blockade four years ago to keep open a vacancy on the Supreme Court because it was an election year, they’d have the honor and decency to apply their own rule when the same scenario came around again,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor.

There’s a difference in the Senate in 2020 compared to 2016, Thune says. When Obama nominated Garland, the Senate was controlled by the opposition party. And not since the 1800s has a divided Senate and executive branch agreed on a Supreme Court nominee during an election year, he said.

“At the time, we felt that since voters had recently chosen a Republican-led Senate and the president was a Democrat on his way out of office, the new president should choose the next Supreme Court nominee,” he said. “And we all knew at the time that very well could be Hillary Clinton.”

Democrats have threatened to eliminate the legislative filibuster and “pack the Supreme Court” if President Trump selects a nominee ahead of the election.

President Trump said a new justice would be selected as soon as this week and has indicated they would be a woman.

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