North Dakota Sens. Hoeven, Cramer weigh in on Supreme Court vacancy

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday, Sept. 18 at her home in Washington due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

She was 87.

Ginsburg’s death almost immediately led to controversy over filling her now-vacant seat about whether President Donald Trump should nominate, and the Republican-led Senate should confirm, her replacement, or if the seat should remain vacant until the outcome of his race against Democrat Joe Biden is known.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday night that he will move forward on filling her seat.

North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer agreed.

In a statement, Hoeven said when a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court in an election year, and the presidency and Senate are controlled by the same party, a vote should occur.

Here is his full statement:

“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. That is the case in this election year and we should go forward accordingly.

In 2016, we had a different situation. We had divided government and the Presidency and the Senate were held by different parties. When a vacancy has occurred on the Supreme Court under that circumstance, the precedent since the 1880s has been to wait for the people to break the tie in the election.

I look forward to voting on the President’s nominee, and that person should be someone who will uphold the law and not legislate from the bench. That is what I believe is best for North Dakota and the nation.”

Cramer, also in a statement, said he supports any path that gives the opportunity to confirm a conservative justice.

Here is his full statement:

“I support whichever path forward gives us the best opportunity to confirm a conservative justice while retaining control of the White House and the Senate. Those are equally important priorities. If the Democrats are in charge, they will pack the courts and the Senate. 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. The President is set to fulfill his constitutional duty, and the Senate should do the same.”

As of posting time, two U.S. Senators disagreed with filling the vacancy before the election.

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, said she opposes “taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy” this close to an election, as she did in eight months before the 2016 election as well.

Another Republican Senator, Susan Collins, of Maine, said in a statement, “In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently — no matter which political party is in power.”