GOP senators confront past comments on Supreme Court vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators weighing what to do about the vacancy on the Supreme Court are facing questions about their own past comments amid complaints by Democrats that their views have shifted with changing political reality.

President Donald Trump on Saturday urged the GOP-run Senate to consider “without delay” his upcoming nomination to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday. The move comes just six weeks before the election.

A look at what key Republican senators were saying in the past — and what they are saying now — about filling a seat on the Supreme Court during an election year.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, vowed in a statement Friday night, hours after Ginsburg’s death, to call a floor vote on Trump’s nominee, although he did not specify a date. McConnell, who sets the calendar in the Senate, has made judicial appointments a top priority.

McConnell’s statement on the latest vacancy stands in stark contrast to the position he took in 2016, when he refused to consider President Barack Obama’s choice for the high court months ahead of the election. McConnell blocked hearings for Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge, saying the choice should be left to voters in an election year.

55 PHOTOSRuth Bader GinsburgSee GalleryRuth Bader GinsburgWASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 30: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, celebrating her 20th anniversary on the bench, is photographed in the West conference room at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 30, 2013. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20:(L-R) U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, with Justices, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan listen as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama presented a broad agenda including attempts to address income inequality and making it easier for Americans to afford college education and child care.(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20:U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as Justices Anthony M. Kennedy (L) and Stephen G. Breyer look on prior to the State of the Union address on January 20, 2015 in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care.(Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 20:U.S. President Barack Obama hugs Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before delivering the State of the Union address in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to lay out a broad agenda to address income inequality, making it easier for Americans to afford college education, and child care. Also pictured are Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) (R-OH).(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 30: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, celebrating her 20th anniversary on the bench, is photographed in the East conference room at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 30, 2013. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 19:Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives a toast at the New Republic Centennial Gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on November 19, 2014 in Washington, DC.(Photo by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images)Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, stands in her chambers following an interview in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. Ginsburg, 80, the oldest member of the Supreme Court and appointed to the court in 1993 by Democratic President Bill Clinton, has said on several occasions that she wants to match the longevity of Justice Louis Brandeis, who was 82 when he stepped down in 1939. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 17:Honorable Samuel Alito, Jr. (L) Associate Justice of Supreme Court of the United States and Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg Associate Justice of Supreme Court of the United States attend Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s 38th annual gala at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on November 17, 2013 in New York City.(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 17:Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of Supreme Court of the United States, attends Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s 38th annual gala at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center on November 17, 2013 in New York City.(Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)USA – 2013 300 dpi Chris Ware color caricature of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. MCT via Getty Images 2013WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 28:Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) (L) shakes hands with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (R) as Associate Justice Stephen Breyer look son before President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on January 28, 2014 in Washington, DC. In his fifth State of the Union address, Obama is expected to emphasize on healthcare, economic fairness and new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy with bipartisan cooperation.(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)US Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg (L), and Stephen Breyer (R) listen as US President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on January 28, 2014 at the US Capitol in Washington.AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI(Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 17:Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waits for the beginning of the taping of ‘The Kalb Report’ April 17, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The Kalb Report is a discussion of media ethics and responsibility at the National Press Club held each month. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 17:Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia (L) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (R) wait for the beginning of the taping of ‘The Kalb Report’ April 17, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.The Kalb Report is a discussion of media ethics and responsibility at the National Press Club held each month. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 30: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, celebrating her 20th anniversary on the bench, is photographed in the West conference room at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 30, 2013. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 30: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, celebrating her 20th anniversary on the bench, is photographed in the East conference room at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday, August 30, 2013. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, looks out the window of her chambers following an interview in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. Ginsburg, 80, the oldest member of the Supreme Court and appointed to the court in 1993 by Democratic President Bill Clinton, has said on several occasions that she wants to match the longevity of Justice Louis Brandeis, who was 82 when he stepped down in 1939. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 12: Members of the Supreme Court, (L-R) Chief Justice John Roberts and associate justices Anthony Kennendy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, applaud as U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to deliver his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy and said, ‘ItÕs not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth’. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 12:Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attends President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy and said, ‘ItÕs not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth’.(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, left, and Elena Kagan attend the opening night gala of the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012. The gala followed a performance of ‘Anna Bolena.’ Photographer: Stephanie Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 12:Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses backstage at the 22nd annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on November 12, 2012 in New York City.(Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Glamour Magazine)NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 12:Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks onstage at the 22nd annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on November 12, 2012 in New York City.(Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for Glamour Magazine)UNITED STATES – JANUARY 21: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives for the luncheon in Statuary Hall during President Barack Obama’s inauguration ceremony on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)CAMBRIDGE – MAY 26: While standing to receive her honorary degree, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is surprised with a serenade from Spanish tenor Placido Domingo (right) after he received his honorary degree.Sitting between them are commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, and Harvard president Drew Faust (right rear).Harvard University holds its commencement exercises in Tercentenary Theatre, on Thursday, May 26, 2011. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)WASHINGTON – APRIL 10:CEO Niche Media Jason Binn and the honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg pose for a photo at Capitol File Magazine’s After Party for Robert Redford’s The Conspirator at The Newseum on April 10, 2011 in Washington, DC.(Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage for Niche Media)WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 25:U.S President Barack Obama (C) greets (L-R) Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer before the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill on January 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. During his speech Obama was expected to focus on the U.S. economy and increasing education and infrastructure funding while proposing a three-year partial freeze of domestic programs and $78 billion in military spending cuts.(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court, speaks during The Women’s Conference in Long Beach, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010. Originally established in 1985, the event has grown into the largest one-day conference for women in the U.S., and has a mission to empower women to be ‘Architects of Change.’ Photographer: Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesLONG BEACH, CA – OCTOBER 26: Diane Swayer (L), and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speak during the Maria Shriver Women’s Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center on October 26, 2010 in Long Beach, California.(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)LONG BEACH, CA – OCTOBER 26:Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attends California first lady Maria Shriver’s annual Women’s Conference 2010 on October 26, 2010 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California. Attendees to the conference include Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and candidates for California Governor Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown.(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)LONG BEACH, CA – OCTOBER 26:Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (C) looks at former justice Sandra Day O’Connor (R) speak during a discussion with ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer (L) during California first lady Maria Shriver’s annual Women’s Conference 2010 on October 26, 2010 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California. Attendees to the conference include Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and candidates for California Governor Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown.(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)The newest member of the US Supreme Court, Associate Justice Elena Kagan (C), participates in the courts official photo session with Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (L) and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (R) on October 8, 2010 at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. From left: Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States/MCT via Getty Images)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (The Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States/MCT via Getty Images)WASHINGTON – OCTOBER 08:U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses for photographs in the East Conference Room at the Supreme Court building October 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. This is the first time in history that three women are simultaneously serving on the court.(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)The Justices of the US Supreme Court sit for their official photograph on October 8, 2010 at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Front row (L-R): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas,Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Back Row (L-R): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. AFP PHOTO / TIM SLOAN (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)SAN FRANCISCO – AUGUST 09:U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is seen on a video screen as she speaks to delegates at the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates meeting August 9, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Justice Ginsburg was honored with the prestigous ABA Medal, the Bar Association’s highest honor.(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)SAN FRANCISCO – AUGUST 09:U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks to delegates at the American Bar Association (ABA) House of Delegates meeting August 9, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Justice Ginsburg was honored with the prestigous ABA Medal, the Bar Association’s highest honor.(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)US Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (R) arrives for a reception in honor of Designated Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan August 6, 2010, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC.Kagan has become only the fourth woman to win confirmation as Supreme Court justice.AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)US President Barack Obama is greeted by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prior to delivering his first State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 27, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses during a group photo September 29, 2009 in the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 29:Members of the US Supreme Court pose for a group photograph at the Supreme Court building on September 29, 2009 in Washington, DC.Front row (L-R): Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. Back Row (L-R),Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)UNITED STATES – FEBRUARY 24:Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg walks through Statuary Hall before President Barack Obama’s address to the joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009.(Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images)US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (L) greets US President Barack Obama before he addresses a Joint Session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on February 24, 2009. AFP PHOTO/SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives before US President Barack Obama addresses a Joint Session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on February 24, 2009. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives for President Barack Obama address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the Capitol in Washington on February 24, 2009.AFP PHOTO / POOL / Pablo Martinez Monsivais) (Photo credit should read PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/AFP/Getty Images)WASHINGTON – FEBRUARY 24: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg arrives for President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on February 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama will address a joint session of the Congress at 9:01pm tonight where he plans to address the topics of the struggling U.S. economy, the budget deficit, and health care.(Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)WASHINGTON – JUNE 8:U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waits to enter a dinner to honor Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s first female president, May 8, 2006 in Washington, DC. Over 350 women leaders including Sen. Susan Collins (R-MI), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Il), Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), US Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral, Actress Geena Davis and Editor-at-Large of Fortune Magazine Pattie Sellers are expected to attend.(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)SLUG: ME-READING19 PHOTOGRAPHER: NIKKI KAHN/THE WASHINGTON POST DATE: 9/18/2006The Kennedy Center, Washington, DCSupreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during the reading of the Constitution at Georgetown University’s Gonda Theater in Washington, D.C., on Monday, September 18, 2006.(Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post/Getty Images)U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks during a discussion on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gestures while introduced during the inaugural Herma Hill Kay Memorial Lecture at the University of California at Berkeley, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, right, listens as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at Georgetown Law’s second annual Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lecture, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, smiles as she attends a panel discussion celebrating Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to be a Supreme Court Justice, Wednesday Sept. 25, 2019, at the Library of Congress in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at Georgetown Law in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 19: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Ria Tabacco Mar speak at the DVF 2020 Awards at the Library of Congress on February 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images for DVF)PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 19: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks on stage during her induction into The National Museum Of American Jewish History’s Only In America Gallery at National Museum of American Jewish History on December 19, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)Up Next

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Democrats said Republicans should follow the precedent they set in 2016 by not considering a Supreme Court choice in the run-up to an election, but McConnell’s comments make it clear he has no intention of doing so.

“Americans re-elected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise,” McConnell said.

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN LINDSEY GRAHAM

Graham, who will oversee the vetting of the nomination as Judiciary chairman, tweeted Saturday that he will support Trump “in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”

Graham’s comment contradicts his statements in 2018 and 2016 that a Supreme Court nominee should not be considered in an election year.

“If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election,” Graham said in 2018 at an event hosted by The Atlantic magazine. Reminded that he was speaking on the record, Graham said: “Yeah. Hold the tape.″

Two years earlier, in the midst of the Garland battle, the South Carolina senator was even more emphatic, urging listeners at a Judiciary Committee meeting to “use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president (elected) in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’”

Despite those comments, Graham said Saturday that he supports moving forward on a new nomination because Democrats had changed the Senate rules to confirm more circuit court judges during Obama’s tenure, and because Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer “and his friends in the liberal media conspired to destroy the life of Brett Kavanaugh and hold that Supreme Court seat open.”

Kavananugh was narrowly confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2018 after a bitter, partisan fight in which Graham played a key role to advance Kavanaugh.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS

Collins, a Maine Republican who is considered a moderate, said Saturday that “in fairness to the American people,” the Senate should not vote on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court until after the election and that the nomination “should be made by the president who is elected on November 3rd.”

Collins voted in favor of Kavanaugh in 2018 — a vote that has played a key role in her reelection campaign. Liberal groups have targeted Collins over her support for Kavanaugh, and she trails her Democratic opponent in publicly released opinion polls. Her statement seems to leave open the possibility of supporting Trump’s nominee in the “lame duck” session after the election if Trump wins a second term.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY

Grassley, an Iowa Republican, drew condemnation from Democrats in 2016 when, as Judiciary chairman, he blocked confirmation hearings for Garland, who was nominated to the high court after Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly in February 2016.

At the time, Grassley cited “the Biden Rule” in holding up the process. The informal “rule” — never adopted by the Senate in any formal sense — stemmed from a speech given by then-Sen. Joe Biden in 1992 that the Senate should not fill a Supreme Court vacancy until after the presidential election. Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, is now the Democratic nominee for president.

More recently, Grassley told reporters in July that if he still chaired Judiciary and a vacancy occurred, “I would not have a hearing on it because that’s what I promised the people in 2016.”

Grassley issued a statement Friday night praising Ginsburg but did not comment on whether Trump should move forward with a replacement.

SEN. JONI ERNST

Ernst, an Iowa Republican up for reelection this year, serves on the Judiciary panel. She said in July that in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate should hold hearings on Trump’s nominee, even if he loses the presidential election in November.

Ernst’s campaign sent out a fundraising email Friday night saying: “Our Conservative values and Constitutional rights are now on the line. The next Supreme Court nominee will shape major decisions for decades to come.”

Ernst issued a statement later Friday saying the email “never should have gone out.”

“Though I never saw it, it was sent out under my name and I take responsibility for it,” Ernst said. “Tonight, my prayers are with the family of Justice Ginsburg.”

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI

Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation, said in an interview hours before Ginsburg’s death that she “would not vote to confirm” her replacement before the next president is inaugurated.

Her comments to Alaska Public Radio on Friday also occurred before McConnell said the Senate will vote on Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg. Murkowski’s comment appeared to put her at odds with McConnell, who will need at least 50 votes to push a Trump nominee through the Senate, plus a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.

Murkowski, like Collins, issued a statement after Ginsburg’s death that praised her but did not mention whether she’d favor voting on a Trump pick to replace her.

SEN. THOM TILLIS

Tillis, a North Carolina Republican who serves on the Judiciary panel, was among several GOP senators in tough reelection battles to join Trump in calling for a swift vote on a Supreme Court nominee. Arizona Sen. Martha McSally and Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler — both appointed to their seats — also called for a quick vote.

“There is a clear choice on the future of the Supreme Court between the well-qualified and conservative jurist President Trump will nominate and I will support, and the liberal activist Joe Biden will nominate and Cal Cunningham will support, who will legislate radical, left-wing policies from the bench,” Tillis said on Twitter, referring to his Democratic opponent, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham.

In 2016, Tillis opposed giving Merrick Garland a hearing, saying “the voice of the American people should be weighted heavily” in filling a Supreme Court vacancy, adding that the nomination “would be best left to the next president.”

SEN. MITT ROMNEY

Romney, a Utah Republican who was the sole GOP senator to vote in favor of Trump’s impeachment, issued a statement Friday praising Ginsburg, but did not comment on whether he would support a vote on Trump’s nominee.

His spokeswoman called a report that Romney would insist on delaying the vote until after Inauguration Day “grossly false.” Romney has never faced a vote on a Supreme Court nominee as a senator.

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