President Donald Trump is expected to put forth a politically conservative nominee later this week to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a longtime liberal anchor of the court who died Friday, Sept. 18.
Cramer said he supports “whichever path forward gives us the best opportunity to confirm a conservative justice” in what will be the first-term senator’s first vote on a Supreme Court nominee.
“The Republic and its institutions are now at stake, and I did not run for the Senate and put my family through a grueling campaign just to shrink from a moment like this,” Cramer said in a statement. “President Trump is set to fulfill his constitutional duty, and the Senate should do the same.”
Democrats are calling foul on a vote to confirm a new justice just six weeks from a presidential election that could swing Washington’s partisan balance in their favor. Republicans currently hold the U.S. Senate and the presidency, the two government bodies that get a say in a new justice.
Senate Democrats point to President Barack Obama’s failed nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court as an example of why it would be improper to vote on a nominee before an election. Obama nominated Garland in March 2016, eight months before a presidential election, and the Republican-held Senate opted not to hold any hearings or vote on the nomination, citing the closeness of the upcoming election.
Hoeven, who joined fellow Republicans in denying Garland a hearing, said in 2016 that “there is 80 years of precedent for not nominating and confirming a new justice of the Supreme Court in the final year of a president’s term so that people can have a say in this very important decision.”
The second-term senator told Forum News Service on Monday the circumstances are not the same now as they were in 2016 when the presidency and Senate were controlled by different parties.
“When a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court in an election year and the presidency and the Senate are controlled by the same party, the precedent has been for the president’s nominee to get a vote on confirmation,” Hoeven said. “That is the case in this election year and we should go forward accordingly.”
Hoeven’s reasoning for voting on Trump’s eventual nominee mirrors the logic Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell forwarded in a statement released immediately after news of Ginsburg’s death broke last week.
North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen said Hoeven and Cramer should hold themselves to the standards their fellow Republicans set in 2016 when they refused Garland a hearing.
“We demand that you (Hoeven), and Sen. Kevin Cramer, uphold the very principles that you and so many of your Republican colleagues asserted in 2016,” Oversen said. “Let the people have a say. There must be no confirmation vote on a Supreme Court nominee until after a new president is inaugurated.”