Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced Sunday that she would not support the Senate holding confirmation hearings for the next Supreme Court justice until after the election.
It’s the second time the Alaska senator defects the Republican party in defiance of Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. She also voted against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed.”
“I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia. We are now even closer to the 2020 election—less than two months out—and I believe the same standard must apply,” she added, according to the Alaska Republic.
On Friday, very shortly before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Murkowksi had said in an interview that if a Supreme Court vacancy were, hypothetically, to come up, she would not vote to confirm a nominee before Election Day. “That was too close to an election, and that the people needed to decide,” Murkowski said on Friday.
Murkowski appears aligned with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who yesterday said the president elected in November should appoint the next Supreme Court justice.
Following the announcements from Murkowski and Collins, Democrats need two more Republican defections to stop the Senate from confirming Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court before the election. it’s expected that Utah Sen. Mitt Romney will vote against the confirmation.