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A U.S. flag flies in front of the Capitol dome at sunrise on the day of the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Photo by Jim Bourg/Reuters

What every Democratic senator has said about filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year

With less than six weeks until the presidential election, the White House is preparing to nominate a new Supreme Court justice, following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has insisted that the nominee will get a vote.

Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have cried foul, pointing out that McConnell and most Republicans refused to vote on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016, citing an impending presidential election that at the time was months away.

READ MORE: What every Republican senator has said about filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year

Democrats now argue that it is too close to a contested election to push through a nominee. The timeline is more compressed than in 2016, when the Supreme Court nomination was made eight months before the election. It is now less than six weeks to Election Day and President Donald Trump has yet to make his nomination. Some Democrats argue that the proximity to the election is why their stance is different than in 2016. Others argue that McConnell’s decision to not even hold hearings on Obama’s nominee in 2016 changed the rules and set a new precedent that should be honored.

It is up to voters to decide how they see the change, but Democrats who supported an election-year Supreme Court confirmation in 2016 are now opposed, just as Republicans who refused to hold a hearing four years ago want to vote on Trump’s nominee quickly.

Here’s how Senate Democrats and the two Independents who caucus with them felt in 2016, and what they’ve said publicly now. Click here for a Google doc with links to the original source for all statements and quotes we found.

Doug Jones, Alabama

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “This should be an appointment made by the next president of the United States. … This election has started. People have already voted. … And to think that we would go forward with this, I am worried it would damage irreparably the institutions of our government…” Speaking on Facebook Live event, Sept. 21, 2020.

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

TBD

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Dianne Feinstein, California

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “There cannot be one set of rules for a Republican president and one set for a Democratic president, and considering a nominee before the next inauguration would be wholly inappropriate.” Sept. 19, 2020 letter with Sen. Durbin to Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Today, President Obama fulfilled his constitutional duty by nominating Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Now it’s time for the Senate to do its own job and fully and fairly consider this nominee.” Official statement March 16, 2016

Kamala Harris, California

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. Harris quoted Ginsburg’s final request — that she not be replaced until a new president is installed. Harris wrote in a statement posted on Instagram, “We must honor that wish and fight for her legacy.” Sept. 20, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Michael Bennet, Colorado

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. A spokeswoman for Bennet told ColoradoPolitics.com he does not believe a new justice should be confirmed before next year. Sept. 19, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The president has fulfilled his constitutional obligation by selecting a nominee … Now, it is the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to thoroughly vet Judge Garland through meetings, hearings, and a vote to confirm or deny his nomination. It is what presidents and the Senate have done throughout our history. Official statement, March 16, 2016

Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

“No. “The American people must have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

“This close to the election, there is no way that the United States Senate can or should act before the voters decide.” Official statement Sept. 28, 2020”

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Now that the President has done his job, Senate Republicans must do theirs. If they deny Judge Garland meetings, hearings, consideration, and a vote, they will engage in obstructionism unprecedented in American history. … The Republican leadership should do the right thing, fully consider Judge Garland’s nomination and spare the court and the country the significant, unnecessary damage their obstructionism would cause.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Chris Murphy, Connecticut

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “The precedent Republicans set in 2016 requires the Senate to wait to consider a nominee until a new president is sworn in. Should Republicans go forward and reverse this precedent, the Senate will never, ever be the same. It will be changed forever. I pray tonight that at least a few of my Republican colleagues understand this.” Official statement Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

“Yes. “When each one of us took the oath of office, we swore to support and defend the Constitution and to faithfully discharge the duties of a Senator. If Senate Republicans refuse to consider the president’s nominee, they will be willingly violating the spirit of that sworn oath.” Official statement, March 16, 2016.

“There’s just no justification for Republicans continuing to block this nomination.” May 18, 2016, speaking with reporters”

Tom Carper, Delaware

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “If my Republican colleagues reverse course … and try to fill this vacancy before the next president is sworn in, it would be hypocrisy of the highest order. Therefore, I will oppose any Supreme Court nominee until after Inauguration Day …I urge my Republican colleagues to avoid a hurried and politicized process that will further erode the American public’s trust in both the United States Senate and the Supreme Court.” Official statement, Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “I am disappointed by the insistence of some of my Republican colleagues that we should not replace the Supreme Court vacancy until a new president is sworn in. This is unprecedented in our nation’s history. Each of us has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution – some of us many times over – and any abdication of this duty is a failure to serve the American people as we’ve been elected to do.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Chris Coons, Delaware

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “We are not ten months or nine months away from an election, we are just 44 days from an election and an election where in half our states votes are already being cast. Second, the Republican majority set this new precedent. They set it in 2016, they fought hard for it. … so if they were going to set a new precedent that in an election year, there shouldn’t be a hearing, meetings, votes, they should live by it.” Appearance on FOX News Sunday Sept. 20, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “… all one hundred members of the Senate must do our jobs by providing advice and consent on the president’s nominee. The Senate has a valuable opportunity to show the American people — and the world — that even amidst a divisive presidential campaign, our democratic system still works. We cannot allow year-long Supreme Court vacancies to become the new normal.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Brian Schatz, Hawaii

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “We must respect (Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s) final wish and wait to confirm her replacement until a new president is sworn in. Just like Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues said in 2016, the American people deserve a say in their next Supreme Court justice.” Official statement Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “It’s time to end the political gamesmanship and do the job that the American people elected us to do. The president has nominated a well-qualified candidate for the Supreme Court; we now must get back to the business of governing, fulfill our constitutional obligation, and restore the Supreme Court to its full strength.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Mazie Hirono, Hawaii

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “I know what her last fervent wish was — that she not be replaced until a new president is installed. And that is how we should honor the legacy of this total, remarkable jurist.” Speaking on MSNBC Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “It is unprecedented to announce unilaterally that no part of advice and consent will occur until after an election. There is a law enacted nearly 150 years ago that says that the Supreme Court shall consist of nine justices, which also presumes that when a vacancy occurs, the president will nominate a replacement and the Senate will provide advice and consent. In my view, this law is violated when Senate Republicans say that it’s ok to leave a vacancy unfilled for over a year.” Official statement, March 3, 2016

Dick Durbin, Illinois

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “There cannot be one set of rules for a Republican president and one set for a Democratic president, and considering a nominee before the next inauguration would be wholly inappropriate.” Sept. 19, 2020 letter with Sen. Feinstein to Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The president has fulfilled his constitutional responsibility and now the U.S. Senate must do the same. No Senate has ever denied a hearing to a presidential nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.” Official statement March 16, 2016

Tammy Duckworth, Illinois

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “We should honor (Ginsburg’s) dying wish that whoever is elected in November select her successor.” Twitter, Sept. 21, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Ben Cardin, Maryland

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “I fully concur with Justice Ginsburg’s deathbed request: ‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Official statement Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

“Yes. “The president moved forward in a deliberate and timely manner and it is now necessary for the Senate to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to consider the nomination through a fair hearing and a thoughtful floor debate before a timely vote of the full Senate.”

“History has shown that when the roles were reversed and Democrats held the majority in the Senate, Supreme Court and judicial nominees for Republican presidents were given hearings and up-or-down votes regardless of when the vacancies occurred.” Official statement, March 16, 2016.”

Chris Van Hollen, Maryland

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “We know Trump and McConnell will put their interest over what’s good for the country, but at this grave moment for our country we need at least 4 GOP senators to commit to waiting to act on the court until after Inauguration Day and seating of a new Congress.” Twitter, Sept. 18, 2020.

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

“No. At a vigil for the late Justice Ginsburg, Warren said “No confirmation until inauguration.”

“Four years ago, Mitch McConnell told us that there would be no vote in the U.S. Senate on a Supreme Court nominee because our president had only one year in office, and every republican stood with him,”” Warren said. “”Today, Mitch McConnell and his henchmen believe that they can ram through a Supreme Court justice only 45 days from the election.” Speaking at the vigil, Sept. 19, 2020”

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Advise and consent does not mean that we want to hold the spot vacant until someone more to our political liking is in the presidency and can make a different nomination. No, advice and consent is we have hearings, we consider a nominee in good faith, and then we have a vote on that nominee. Maintaining a vacancy is nothing more than naked politics.” Speaking at a Democratic Outreach Committee meeting, April 6, 2016

Ed Markey, Massachusetts

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “Mitch McConnell set the precedent. No Supreme Court vacancies filled in an election year. If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.” Twitter, Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Senate Republicans are engaged in the worst kind of partisan obstruction by ignoring their Constitutional duty to act on Judge Garland’s nomination. The United States Constitution is a remarkable document. Let us respect it, not run from it. It is time for Senate Republicans to fulfill their constitutional obligations and have a hearing and vote on Judge Garland’s nomination.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Debbie Stabenow, Michigan

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “The presidential election is already underway—voters are already casting their ballots in many states. We should honor the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by letting the people decide and allowing the next president and the next U.S. Senate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.” Official statement, Sept. 21, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The Senate has a Constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on Judge Garland’s nomination through a fair confirmation process. I join the overwhelming majority of Americans in calling for a public hearing and vote on Judge Garland’s nomination. It’s time for Senate Republicans to do their job.” Official statement April 19, 2016

Gary Peters, Michigan

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “Acting on a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court with 45 days until Election Day would further divide the Senate and our country — and voting is already underway or will soon begin, including in Michigan. Voters should have their voices heard, and there should not be a Supreme Court nomination until the next presidential term begins.” Official statement, Sept. 19, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Our nation’s highest court plays too critical of a role in our democracy for this vacancy to remain unfilled for an extended period of time. Just as President Obama has a constitutional responsibility to submit a nominee, the U.S. Senate has a responsibility to give that nominee a thorough and fair review. I strongly urge my colleagues to swiftly hold a public hearing and vote on Chief Judge Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court.” Official statement, April 28, 2016

Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “The way this happened so close to the election, the next president should be able to make the decision. The people pick the president and the president picks the justice. … the fact that you have people voting right now, including in my state, everything is on the line.” NBC’s Meet the Press on Sept. 20, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The President has done his job in nominating this exemplary jurist. Now, we need to do our job in the Senate … The Constitution is clear: The Senate must consider the president’s nominee and then choose whether to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ We must do our job, hold hearings, and vote.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Tina Smith, Minnesota

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “I’ve seen it my entire time in the Senate, Mitch McConnell will stop at nothing to seize power. Republicans set the precedent in 2016. We should not appoint a new Supreme Court Justice before Inauguration Day.” Official statement Sept. 21, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Jon Tester, Montana

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “Montanans begin voting in two weeks and, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and my Republican colleagues said just four years ago, the American people must have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. There isn’t a separate set of rules for Republicans and Democrats—we should follow the precedent McConnell set and fill this vacancy when the next president and Senate are sworn in, regardless of who wins.” Official statement Sept. 19, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The American people should have an opportunity to vet Judge Garland through a public hearing. Unfortunately, Senate obstructionists are once again refusing to do their jobs. If Congress operated like a business, the employees would have been fired weeks ago.” Official statement, May 12, 2016.

Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. Masto said the position is a “lifetime position and the American public should have say in who is selected by voting for the next President.” Interview with News4 Reno, Sept. 22, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Jacky Rosen, Nevada

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

TBD

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “The American people need to choose the next president and the new president should nominate the replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Speaking with reporters, Sept. 21, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The Constitution is clear on the Senate’s obligation in the event of a vacancy on the court and it’s time for the Republican majority to schedule hearings and a vote. Every Senator swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and that oath applies to election years and nonelection years alike.” Official statement, April 5, 2016.

Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “Republicans changed the rules. I opposed what they did. They changed the rules. One of the things that we have to be able to do in this democracy of ours is hold both parties to the same set of rules. And I think it is critically important that the Republicans hold themselves to the same standards that they held themselves to four years ago. I think it is important for predictability in our democracy.” Sept. 21, 2020 PBS NewsHour interview

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

N/A; was not a senator in 2016.

Bob Menendez, New Jersey

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

“No. “The hypocrisy of my Republican colleagues who once opposed filling any Supreme Court vacancy during a presidential election year is stunning.

We owe the American people a voice in a decision that will shape the course of our country for generations.” Statement on Twitter, Sept. 22, 2020”

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The Senate has a Constitutional duty to consider the president’s nomination, and I once again urge the Republican majority to allow us to fulfill this duty, and to do their job, by holding hearings and scheduling a vote. The politically motivated refusal to do so is unprecedented in our nation’s history and the American people do not deserve to have Republican gridlock extend to the Judiciary.” Official statement, April 21, 2016

Cory Booker, New Jersey

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “For [Republicans] to so severely violate their own words, I think does a tremendous amount of damage to the institution of the Senate as well as to the legitimacy of the court,” Booker said on Face the Nation Sept. 20, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Chief Judge Merrick Garland is a highly respected jurist with a distinguished record of service to our country that has earned the support and admiration of Republicans and Democrats alike. The Senate has no excuse to ignore, blockade, or stonewall consideration of this nominee. I look forward to reviewing Chief Judge Garland’s record and meeting with him in the weeks ahead. My Senate colleagues must fulfill their constitutional duty and do the same.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Tom Udall, New Mexico

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

“No. “At this moment of anguish for the nation, it is only right that we honor Justice Ginsburg’s last wishes. As she said: ‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.’ I am appalled that Republican Majority Leader McConnell has already vowed to betray that wish—and his own precedent—the same day that Justice Ginsburg passed.” Official statement, Sept. 18, 2020

“We cannot allow Justice Ginsburg’s seat to be filled by someone who will eviscerate protections for those w/ preexisting conditions.” Statement on Twitter, Sept. 21, 2020”

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The Constitution is clear. The Senate shall offer its advice and consent. It doesn’t say ‘except when the nomination is made in the last year of a president’s term.’ This obstruction is unprecedented. The majority needs to do its job: hold hearings and a vote.” Official statement, May 18, 2016

Martin Heinrich, New Mexico

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

“No. “With just weeks before the presidential election, we must let the American people decide when they cast their ballots in November.

In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has set a precedent for this very situation.” Statement on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2020”

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The political games surrounding the Supreme Court nomination process have been extremely disappointing. There is no reason beyond partisan politics to deprive the American people of a fully-staffed Supreme Court. The Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold hearings and a vote on Judge Garland’s nomination is irresponsible and contrary to the oaths we all swore. It is long past time for every member of the Senate to do their job.” Official statement May 19, 2016

Chuck Schumer, New York

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” Statement on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “We hope the saner heads in the Republican Party will prevail on Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell to do their job and hold hearings so America can make its own judgement as to whether Merrick Garland belongs on the court.” Comments reported by the Washington Examiner, March 16, 2016

Kirsten Gillibrand, New York

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “McConnell wants to force a vote on a new justice. It’s up to all of us—Senators like myself, advocates, citizens—to fight to keep this seat open until the next president and Senate are sworn in. That starts with doing all we can to help Dems win in Nov. I’m ready to get to work.” Statement on Twitter Sept. 19, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “I strongly urge my colleagues to hold hearings & allow the full Senate to vote on Judge Garland’s nomination in a timely manner. #DoYourJob”. Via Twitter, March 16, 2016

Sherrod Brown, Ohio

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

“No. “We should not fill this Supreme Court vacancy until the American people have a chance to make their voices heard in this election.

This court will decide the fate of their healthcare and workplace safety and civil rights.

Ohioans are already voting, and their vote should count.” Twitter statement, Sept. 21, 2020”

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “… now we have an unquestionably qualified nominee who has earned support from both Republicans and Democrats in the past, so I expect my colleagues to put politics aside, do the job we were elected to do and give Judge Garland full and fair consideration. Anything less undermines our democracy.” Official statement March 16, 2016

Ron Wyden, Oregon

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “If you don’t trust Republicans with your health care you shouldn’t trust them with this Supreme Court seat. Every single Senate Republican that votes to confirm Trump’s nominee will be voting to let the Supreme Court rip health care away from Americans.” Statement on Twitter, Sept. 21, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “We urge you to listen to the American people and allow all senators to do our jobs by giving Chief Judge Garland a hearing and a vote.” Letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, April 15, 2016

Jeff Merkley, Oregon

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “Justice Ginsburg herself had expressed that it was her ‘most fervent wish’ not to be replaced on the Court during this presidential term. Since my Republican colleagues have also been adamant that a vacant Supreme Court seat should not be filled in a presidential election year, I look forward to the American people making their voices heard before a replacement is selected.” Official statement Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “It’s time for the Senate to fulfill our own constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent. We have a responsibility to hold hearings, debates and votes in committee and on the floor.” March 16, 2016

Bob Casey, Pennsylvania

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “Consistent with the precedent set by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2016, Justice Ginsburg’s seat should not be filled until the presidential election concludes and the candidate chosen by voters is sworn into office.” Official Statement, Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The Senate has taken action on every Supreme Court nominee in the last 100 years, regardless of whether the nomination was made in a presidential election year, and not since the Civil War has the Senate taken longer than a year to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Jack Reed, Rhode Island

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “While some want to ram this nomination through under the cover of a pandemic on the eve of an election – even if it harms the foundation of the court itself and further divides our nation – we dissent.” Official statement with Sen. Whitehouse, Sept. 21, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Republicans’ stubborn refusal to even consider the nomination does a real disservice to our judicial system. A fully functioning Supreme Court is essential to our government and Republicans should not deprive the American people of a chance to fully understand what kind of justice Merrick Garland will be.” Official statement, May 17, 2016

Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “While some want to ram this nomination through under the cover of a pandemic on the eve of an election – even if it harms the foundation of the Court itself and further divides our nation – we dissent.” Official statement with Sen. Reed, Sept. 21, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “United States senators have always carried out their duty to consider and vote on the president’s Supreme Court nominations. We have an eminently qualified jurist in Judge Garland, who should receive a hearing and a vote on the Senate floor. I urge my colleagues across the aisle to honor their constitutional duty and act on this nomination.” Official statement, April 6, 2016

Patrick Leahy, Vermont

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “Leader McConnell is trying to conjure up yet another new rule that, essentially, there was an unspoken exception to everything he promised in 2016. Apparently the American people do not get a voice when the White House and Senate are under the control of the same party.” Official statement, Sept. 21, 2020.

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Now it is time for the Senate to do its job. There is more than enough time for senators to publicly and thoroughly examine Chief Judge Garland’s qualifications and vote on his confirmation before Memorial Day. For more than 40 years, the Senate has held a confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominees on average 70 days after their formal nomination. The Senate should afford Chief Judge Garland the same process with a fair and public hearing in April, and the full Senate should vote on his confirmation by May 25.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Mark Warner, Virginia

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

“No. “[I hope that] cooler heads will prevail and realize that the precedent set four years ago ought to be honored.

You know, Americans should be able to weigh in on this decision.” Speaking with Capitol Hill reporters Sept. 23, 2020”

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “This remarkably qualified appellate judge deserves a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, thoughtful consideration by the full Senate, and an up-or-down vote. I strongly urge my colleagues to respect the process and hope that they will allow the Senate to perform its constitutional duty to consider Judge Garland’s nomination.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Tim Kaine, Virginia

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. As part of a statement quoting Kaine in remembrance of Ginsburg, his office wrote, “In light of the Scalia precedent and the fact that voting is already underway in multiple states, Senator Kaine believes the Senate should wait until after the next inauguration before considering a nominee to fill this vacancy. He will do everything he can to ensure that this Supreme Court seat is not filled until then.” Official statement, Sept. 18, 2020.

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Merrick Garland is a well-respected jurist with impeccable qualifications and unrivaled experience … He has also garnered enthusiastic support from Democrats and Republicans in the past, which should leave Republicans in the Senate no excuse for obstructing his confirmation process. Justice demands that the Senate provide advice and consent for any Supreme Court nominee. I commend President Obama for fulfilling his constitutional duty. It’s time for the Senate to do the same.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Patty Murray, Washington

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave her all to us, and I will give mine to making sure the American people have their next President before her seat is filled.” Statement on Twitter, Sept. 18, 2020.

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “The American people have spoken—they elected President Obama twice, and they entrusted him with the powers and responsibilities laid out in our Constitution. Those responsibilities don’t just last for three years—they last a full term. And people across the country are making it very clear that they expect Republicans to work with the president, meet with a nominee, hold hearings, and do their job.” Official statement, March 15, 2016

Maria Cantwell, Washington

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

TBD

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Senate Republicans must do their jobs by holding a hearing and vote of the full Senate on Judge Garland’s nomination. Advice and consent isn’t an option, it’s an obligation.” Official statement, June 9, 2016

Joe Manchin, West Virginia

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “I think what we should do is take time to mourn and celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life. Let the election happen and see where we go from there.” Speaking on the program “Talkline” on MetroNews, Sept. 21, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “I believe the Senate should once again follow its constitutional obligation and advise and consent on the president’s nomination. We have a responsibility to the American people to fulfill our duties. I am not saying we should approve the nomination. I am saying we should evaluate him based on his legal qualifications and judicial philosophy. … If the Senate will not hold hearings, I will. Along with you, I will research his record, present the information, hold town halls and ask him your questions when I meet with him. It is my responsibility and one I do not take lightly.” Official statement, March 22, 2016

Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “The election that will determine our next president and control of the Senate is only 45 days away. Voters across America should be allowed to cast their ballots first, before a Supreme Court nomination and confirmation process moves forward. Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate Majority put in place the standard that Supreme Court nominations would not move forward in an election year.” Official statement, Sept. 19, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “In the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation, I would encourage my Republican colleagues to give Judge Garland fair consideration. To ignore this nomination is wrong and irresponsible. Senate Republicans need to do their job and provide Judge Garland a hearing and an up-or-down vote. I believe the American people deserve to have a full and functioning Supreme Court working for them.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

Angus King, Maine (I)

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “With less than fifty days until the upcoming election – and an anxious, divided America watching – Senator McConnell should honor Justice Ginsburg’s life and legacy by abiding by her final wish that this vacancy not be filled until the election has been decided.” Official statement, Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “[Meeting with Garland] reaffirmed my strong belief that his nomination should receive full, fair, and open consideration from the Senate.“ Official statement, April 13, 2016

Bernie Sanders, Vermont (I)

Should the Senate vote to replace Ginsburg before the election?

No. “The right thing to do here is clear. The Republicans in the Senate know it, and many of them have stated it clearer than I could. We should let voters decide. Period.” Official statement, Sept. 18, 2020

2016: Should the Senate have held hearings or a vote on Merrick Garland?

Yes. “Refusing to hold hearings on the president’s nominee would be unprecedented. President Obama has done his job. It’s time for Republicans to do theirs. I call on Sen. Grassley to hold confirmation hearings immediately and for Leader McConnell to bring the nomination to [the] floor of the Senate if Judge Garland is approved by the Judiciary Committee.” Official statement, March 16, 2016

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