DENVER (KDVR) — Sen. Cory Gardner avoided a question Saturday afternoon about whether the Senate should vote on a new Supreme Court justice before the upcoming presidential election.
Gardner made the remarks during a discussion with Club 20, which describes itself as “a coalition of individuals, businesses, tribes and local governments in Colorado’s 22 western counties.”
In an opening statement, he expressed his condolences for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s family and described her as “an American icon.”
The interviewer then asked Gardner the following question:
“Four years ago, upon the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, you said the following:
‘Our next election is too soon and the stakes are too high. The American people deserve a role in this process. As the next Supreme Court justice will influence the direction of this country for years to come, the next president of the United States should have the opportunity to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.’
Do you stand by those words today?”
Gardner did not directly answer the question. He instead referred to Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, who said that out of decency and respect for the country, we should take time to reflect on Ginsburg’s passing.
“I hope that before the politics begin — because there will be plenty of time for that — that we have some time for this country to reflect on the legacy of a great woman who led to this nation’s highest court and the work that she has done for this nation, whether you agree or not,” Gardner said. “There is time for debate, there is time for politics, but the time for now is to pray for the family and to make sure that we keep their — their family in our hearts and prayers as we mourn as a nation.”
After Ginsburg’s death Friday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote on President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, even though it’s an election year.
When Scalia, a conservative, died in February 2016, McConnell refused to act on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the opening. The seat remained vacant until after Trump won. Trump ended up nominating Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed to the court.
On Saturday morning, Trump urged the Senate to consider his nomination to replace Ginsburg “without delay!”