Lisa Murkowski Just Announced She Won’t Vote to Confirm a Supreme Court Nominee Before Election Day


For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), known for defecting from her party to vote against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, bucked Republicans again to announce Sunday that she would not support the Senate holding confirmation hearings for the next Supreme Court justice until after the election.
“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed.”
“I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia. We are now even closer to the 2020 election—less than two months out—and I believe the same standard must apply,” she added.
On Friday, very shortly before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Murkowksi had said in an interview that if a Supreme Court vacancy were, hypothetically, to come up, she would not vote to confirm a nominee before Election Day. “That was too close to an election, and that the people needed to decide,” Murkowski said on Friday.
Murkowski’s Sunday statement aligns with her prior ones. But she did not spell out as clearly as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) did yesterday whether she believes the Senate should confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee in a lame duck session if he were to lose the election. However, she appears aligned with Collins, who yesterday said the president elected in November should appoint the next Supreme Court justice.
Following the announcements from Murkowski and Collins, Democrats need two more Republican defections to stop the Senate from confirming Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court before the election.