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Manchin, Capito React To RBG’s Death, Potential Replacement

The U.S. Supreme Court

West Virginia’s two U.S. senators released statements regarding the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with opposing views on the process for her replacement.

Both Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and Joe Manchin (D) expressed sympathy late Friday night. However, with only a few more than 40 days until the election, Capito said she wants the Senate to appoint a new justice before then. Manchin said he wants to wait.

“President Trump and the Republican Senate, both elected by the American people, should act to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg’s passing,” Capito said in a statement Tuesday – four days after her office released a statement acknowledging Ginsburg’s death and offering condolences to her family.

Capito is the most recent Republican senator to support approving a new justice before the election, even after Congress adjourned for the summer in August after failing to pass another coronavirus relief bill.

This contradicts Capito’s stance in 2016, when Senate Republicans held up a vote on President Obama’s supreme court nominee, Merrick Garland, citing the upcoming election eight months away.

Meanwhile, Manchin called appointing a new justice before the 2020 election “hypocrisy in its highest form.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and it is simply irresponsible to rush the adequate and proper vetting required of any new candidate for the bench,” Manchin said in a press release Monday.

“Pursuing an overtly partisan approach to confirming a Supreme Court Justice will only deepen the political tribalism we are witnessing across this country. I implore every senator, regardless of party, to honor their responsibility to act in a manner that brings this country together rather than feed a cycle of endless political division.”

Trump said he will likely announce his nominee by Saturday, and McConnell has promised to hold a vote. With Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, also supporting the fast-track appointment of a new justice before the election, it appears the president has all of the necessary votes.

Updated: September 22, 2020 at 11:23 AM EDT
This story was updated at 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 22, 2020, to include a new statement from U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.
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