Former President Barack Obama declared in 2016 the Constitution requires the Senate to consider a Supreme Court nominee and the president has his right to nominate a new justice before the election.
“When there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the president is to nominate someone, the Senate is to consider that nomination, and either they disapprove of that nominee or that nominee is elevated to the Supreme Court,” Obama said in February 2016, reported The Blaze.
“Historically, this has not been viewed as a question,” he added. “There’s no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off-years. That’s not in the constitutional text.”
Just dug up this clip of Obama in 2016:
“When there is a vacancy on the SCOTUS, the President is to nominate someone, the Senate is to consider that nomination … There’s no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off-years. That’s not in the Constitution text.” pic.twitter.com/vrOi3DrkJN
— Kelb Hull (@CalebJHull) September 19, 2020
However, the former president on Friday, Sept. 18, called on the Senate not to appoint a Supreme Court justice to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” Obama said.
“A basic principle of the law—and of everyday fairness—is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment,” he continued. “The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle.”
Reacting to the fight over a replacement for late Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, Ginsburg also stated that “nothing in the Constitution” stops a president from nominating to fill a court seat.
“There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year,” Ginsburg told the New York Times at the time.
Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of pancreatic cancer. She reportedly expressed the wish that her replacement wouldn’t be confirmed until a new president is installed.
President Donald Trump on Friday asserted his right to nominate a new justice when there is a vacancy.
“That’s called the consequences of losing an election,” the president said. “Article II of the Constitution says the president shall nominate justices of the Supreme Court. I don’t think it can be any more clear, can it?”
President Trump said his nominee to replace Ginsburg would be a woman and his pick would likely be announced next week.
“It will be a woman. A very talented, very brilliant woman.” he said. “I think it should be a woman. I actually like women much more than I like men.”