Biden to GOP senators: Don’t jam through Ginsburg nominee
Joe Biden on Sunday slammed President Donald Trump and leading Senate Republicans for trying to jam through a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and urged more senators to stand with a pair of GOP colleagues who oppose the election-season rush.
The extraordinary televised plea from the Democratic presidential candidate to Republican senators reflected the ferocious manoeuvring that has followed Ginsburg’s death at 87 on Friday. Her passing upended a campaign that had, until then, focused on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s economic collapse and racial unrest that has stoked protests in US cities.
WOMAN TO SUCCEED GINSBURG
Trump has said he intends within days to name a woman to succeed the liberal icon, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was moving towards the first hearings this week.
Just hours before Biden spoke, a second Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, joined Senator Susan Collins of Maine in opposing efforts to fill Ginsburg’s seat before the next president is elected.
It takes four Republicans to break ranks to keep Trump’s nominee off the court. Attention quickly focused on Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted to convict Trump on one count of impeachment, and Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Biden acknowledged that those Republicans, and others like them, were his target audience when he warned that Trump’s plan was an “abuse of power”.
“Uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience,” said Biden, speaking in battleground Pennsylvania. “Let the people speak. Cool the flames that have engulfed our country.”
There was little chance of calm overtaking the historic campaign as early voting progressed and the death toll from the virus reached 200,000 Americans.
Just before Murkowski joined Collins, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to the House having “options” she did not name to stall or prevent the Senate from confirming Ginsburg’s successor to the lifetime job.
“We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now,” Pelosi said on ABC’s ‘This Week’. The House has no formal role in the confirmation of Supreme Court justices. But Pelosi would not rule out a new round of impeachment proceedings that might divert the Senate’s attention, though that route seemed unlikely.
Meanwhile, Murkowski raised by one the number of Republicans opposing a rush to confirmation.
“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up” a potential nomination as the presidential election neared. “Sadly,” she said, “what was then a hypothetical [scenario] is now our reality, but my position has not changed.”