U.S. Sen. Mike Braun said Saturday he supports taking a confirmation vote before the November election on a nominee to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.
“I think it’s possible to do it before,” Braun said in an interview with IndyStar. “We may have to give up some of the recess time in October. I’d be happy to do that. I think there’s plenty of time to get through it.”
His comments come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said he plans for the Senate to have a vote on President Donald Trump’s eventual nominee with less than two months until Election Day.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said in a Friday statement.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun speaks during a campaign rally on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, inside Jackie Walorski’s campaign office in Mishawaka, Ind.
In 2016, McConnell led Senate Republicans in deciding to block then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia because it was a presidential election year. The different tack this time around has led to charges of hypocrisy from Democrats.
Braun, a first-term Republican who was elected in 2018, dismissed the criticism.
“I think it’s a bit of a different stand — you had a Democratic president and a Republican senate,” Braun said. “Here we’ve got both and I think for our supporters, they’d call it dereliction of duty if we didn’t do it.”
Local Democrats plan to protest at 11 a.m. outside Braun’s office. They then plan to move to the office of Indiana’s other senator, Todd Young, who is also a Republican.
The group, organized by City-County Councilor Ali Brown and state senate candidates Belinda Drake and Theresa Bruno, will call for Bruan and Young to “hold true to the precedent set by Republicans in 2016 by waiting until after the 2020 elections to fill the next U.S. Supreme Court seat,” according to a news release..
No comment from Young
Young, has not commented on whether he wants a confirmation vote before the election.
He is arguably in a more difficult position than Braun because of the stance he took on blocking Obama’s pick in 2016, when he was a U.S. representative running for Senate in the midst of a competitive GOP primary.
At that time, Young said he wanted the Senate to hold off on a vote for the next Supreme Court justice, according to the South Bend Tribune.
“Given that this lifetime appointment could reshape the Supreme Court for generations I would prefer that the American people be offered an opportunity to weigh in this fall, and I share Vice President Joe Biden’s reservations about the Senate holding confirmation hearings during a Presidential election year; it’s about principle and process, not the person,” Young said.
Support for Amy Coney Barrett
During Braun’s interview with IndyStar, he also said he hopes Trump nominates a federal judge and Notre Dame professor to fill the vacancy left by Ginsburg, who died Friday. Amy Coney Barrett of South Bend is widely expected to be one of Trump’s top choices.
“I think she’d be an excellent nominee,” Braun said. “I hope Trump selects her and McConnell has said that he’ll bring a vote to the floor and I think it’d be wonderful.”
Amy Coney Barrett
Barrett rocketed to the top of Trump’s list of potential nominees after her 2017 confirmation hearing for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, when Democrats cited her deep Catholic faith not as an advantage but an obstacle.
5 things to know: Who is Amy Coney Barrett, a possible Supreme Court pick
She was confirmed, 55-43. Those voting in her favor included Braun’s predecessor, then-U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat.
Young has not commented on the prospect of a Barrett nomination to the Supreme Court, but he recommended her for the appeals court and staunchly defended her during the confirmation process.