Former Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, whom Republicans brazenly blocked at every turn, is being considered for attorney general in the incoming Biden administration, NPR reported on Friday. If selected, Garland would be saddled with restoring confidence in a Justice Department that, amid the Trump presidency, has drifted far afield from its original nonpartisan mission — routinely playing politics to do Trump’s bidding.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced Tuesday that he believes President Trump should get to choose a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg regardless of whether he wins in November. The move clears the way for a vote this year by the GOP-led Senate on a nominee that Trump is expected to name Saturday.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.
The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington surrounded by family. She was 87.
“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
(CNN) Senate Republican leaders, undeterred by the scathing criticism leveled against them for blocking President Barack Obama’s election-year Supreme Court nominee in 2016, are signaling that they are prepared to confirm a nominee by President Donald Trump even if that vacancy occurred after this year’s election.
The push comes despite ample apprehension from influential Republicans that the GOP could pay a political price for treating a nominee under Trump differently than they did under Obama. It also comes as Democrats are increasingly worried about the fragile health of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the 87-year-old liberal jurist who recently made public a new bout with cancer, and the possibility of other retirements.
“We will,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranking Republican leader, when asked if the Senate would fill a vacancy, even during the lame-duck session after the presidential election. “That would be part of this year. We would move on it.”
Thune’s comments appear to break sharply with his comments in 2016, when then-President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“The American people deserve to have their voices heard on the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice, who could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court for a generation,” Thune said in a statement in March 2016. “Since the next presidential election is already underway, the next president should make this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was one of many on the left to express dismay at the Supreme Court’s Wednesday ruling that the Trump administration acted within its authority when it expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that employers provide insurance that includes contraception, and promised he would return to an Obama-era policy should he be elected.
“As disappointing as the Supreme Court’s ruling is, there is a clear path to fixing it: electing a new President who will end Donald Trump’s ceaseless attempts to gut every aspect of the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said in a statement. “If I am elected, I will restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the Hobby Lobby ruling: providing an exemption for houses of worship and an accommodation for nonprofit organizations with religious missions.”