Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is calling on President Trump to pump the brakes on nominating a successor to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at age 87.
“I urge President Trump and the U.S. Senate to allow the American people to cast their ballots for President before a new justice is nominated or confirmed,” Baker wrote in a tweet Saturday.
“The Supreme Court is too important to rush and must be removed from partisan political infighting,” he continued.
The passing of Justice Ginsburg is not only a loss for the court but for the entire nation, and I urge President Trump and the U.S. Senate to allow the American people to cast their ballots for President before a new justice is nominated or confirmed.
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) September 19, 2020
Trump signaled Saturday he would move “without delay” to fill the vacancy in the nation’s highest court and has already begun fundraising for his re-election campaign off a pledge to appoint a conservative justice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed Friday night to bring Trump’s eventual nominee up for a vote.
Baker’s plea represents yet another break with party leadership from the Republican governor who has notably shied away from national politics but has been unafraid to lash out at the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic that has affected millions of Americans and killed nearly 200,000.
Baker has been getting increasingly political on both sides of the aisle in recent weeks. In August, he backed Democratic U.S. Rep. Richard Neal in a surprise endorsement as the House Ways and Means chairman sought to fend off a primary challenge from Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse.
On Friday, Baker endorsed Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine who is in the midst of a tough re-election campaign against Democratic challenger Sara Gideon, speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.
Ginsburg’s death now puts Collins — and Baker, by association — in the spotlight as one of a handful of endangered incumbents this fall whose decisions on whether to support a Trump nominee before the election could prove consequential for their careers.
Collins said in a statement Saturday that the Senate should not vote on the nominee prior to the Nov. 3 election.
“President Trump has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and I would have no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials,” Collins said.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” she continued, adding that “in fairness to the American people” the “decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”