September 26, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Federal Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States:
“In the 244-year history of our nation, the latest a Supreme Court nominee has ever been confirmed during an election year was July 26th. The nominee was put forward by President Benjamin Harrison, in the year 1892 – having been nominated in January. When Supreme Court nominations were made in the first half of an election year, 8 out of 9 were confirmed; the troubling exception was made in 2016 with Merrick Garland. In less than a handful of instances when second-half vacancies were created, Presidents such as Lincoln and Eisenhower made the decision to allow for necessary time for the American people to vote and show their desires for the direction of the nation – and waited until after Election Day.
“Now with less than 40 days until Election Day, President Trump and Senator McConnell intend to dispense with precedent and their 2016 standard, and break land-speed records to push through a nomination even though early voting has already begun in states across the country. Further, it appears the majority of my Republican colleagues will not only fall in line, but have already committed to voting for the nominee before knowing who the President would put forward. It’s a stain on this institution, and I urge my colleagues to slow down and let the American people have their say.
“It’s important, and further frustrating, to keep in mind the broader context in which this is occurring. More than 200,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and our economy has yet to recover, but instead of dealing with relief for those who need it, this President and this Majority Leader are choosing to rush through a Supreme Court nominee. In addition, I worry this expedited timeline is nothing more than a power play in an attempt to seat the new Justice before the Supreme Court hears a case that could strike down the Affordable Care Act. Let me say that again: this could mean the complete demise of the Affordable Care Act. If they are successful, millions of Americans will be left without health insurance or protections against preexisting conditions.
“As for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett: out of respect for the Senate’s role of advice and consent – a respect that many of my colleagues seem to have renewed passion for since 2016 – I will study her testimony in weeks ahead in an attempt to understand her record and temperament. I will not vote to support her nomination before the election results are clear, and I will not vote to support her nomination if there will be a new President in January. For a lifetime nomination this important, with an election already underway, we servants of the public should pause and let the voices of the American people be heard."