The Latest: WH leaves it to McConnell to decide vote timing

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Vice President Mike Pence's Chief of Staff Marc Short, center, listens as Vice President Mike Pence, left, answers a reporters question about his former homeland security advisor Olivia Troye, who criticized President Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, during a meeting on safety and quality for nursing homes in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON – The Latest on the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Donald Trump's effort to appoint a successor (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump will announce his pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the “near future” but is declining to say whether the president will push for a Senate confirmation vote before Election Day.

Marc Short is the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence. He says a confirmation vote before Nov. 3 is “certainly possible” because Ginsburg was confirmed within 43 days and currently it is 44 days out from the election.

But Short tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that the White House is leaving the confirmation timetable up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

When asked whether Trump considered Ginsburg’s dying wish for her replacement to be named by the winner of the November presidential election, Short said the White House and nation mourn her loss “but the decision of when to nominate does not lie with her.”


2:15 p.m.

Two Republican senators say it’s too soon to tell whether the Senate will vote to confirm the successor to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the November election, but that senators intend to move quickly.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas says he believes the nominee whom Trump is expected to name this week should be confirmed before Nov. 3, but acknowledged he doesn’t know if there are currently enough GOP votes to support it.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. So far, Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have publicly indicated they would not support a confirmation vote before Election Day.

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas says he believes the Senate will most certainly hold confirmation hearings before the election and then “move forward without delay.” But he says senators also will not “rush” or “cut corners.”

Cotton argued that some Democratic senators could be peeled off to support a quick confirmation, noting that one Democrat -- Joe Manchin of West Virginia - crossed lines to support Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in 2018.

Cruz spoke on ABC’s “This Week” and Cotton appeared on “Fox News Sunday.”


1:30 p.m.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are making a moral argument to their Republican colleagues to resist replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg until the next president is inaugurated.

Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware says Republicans should follow the precedent they set in 2016 when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to act on the nomination of Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia in an election year. Coons says the legitimacy of the high court will be hurt if the Senate acts right away, because it would send a message that “this is all about politics, not about principle.”

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey warns of “tremendous damage to the institution of the Senate” if Republicans “violate their own words.”

And Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota stresses that key issues are hanging in the balance before the Supreme Court including health care, the environment and labor rights so it would be premature to act with voters in many states already casting votes. She said “democracy is at stake.”

Coons spoke on “Fox New Sunday,” Booker on CBS's “Face the Nation” and Klobuchar on CNN's “State of the Union.”


1:10 p.m.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska says she doesn’t support taking up a Supreme Court nomination so close to the Nov. 3 election.

Murkowski joins Maine Sen. Susan Collins among Republicans opposed to confirming a successor to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election. President Donald Trump has said he will announce a nominee this week to fill the seat following her death on Friday.

Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate. If there were a 50-50 tie, it could be broken by Vice President Mike Pence.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has pledged to move forward but hasn’t set a timetable.

Murkowski says in a statement that for weeks she has taken this position about a potential nomination so close to the election.

She says, “Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed.”

She says it’s consistent with her stand in 2016 when the GOP-led Senate did not act on President Barack Obama’s election-year nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.