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Manchin says he won’t vote to set precedent for U.S. Supreme Court nominations late in election years

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — President Donald Trump has said he’ll announce his next nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, the potential replacement for late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 5 p.m. Saturday.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he remained opposed to moving forward with the confirmation process or holding a confirmation vote on the nominee in the U.S. Senate before the Nov. 3 general election.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

“This has never been done in the history of the United States for us to vote to confirm a justice when a vacancy occurs the last four or five months of the campaign. It’s never been done. We’ve gone clear back to 1789 (and it’s) never been done,” Manchin said.

In 2020, he said he would not be voting “to set a precedent.”

“It’ll divide our country further. I think it’s wrong and, next of all, I don’t think you can do a proper vetting and have people’s input and have the public’s input as you should have on something so important as a Supreme Court justice.”

During a Wednesday call with reporters, Manchin cited Congressional research about 13 total U.S. Supreme Court vacancies that have happened in election years in U.S. history.

Traditionally, he said, U.S. presidents and the U.S. Senate have waited to take up U.S. Supreme Court justice nominations in the second half of election years until after elections.

Between July and election day, four seats have opened on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of those, Manchin said only one president made a nomination which the U.S. Senate tabled until after the election.

From Jan. 1 and July 1 during election years, there have been nine U.S. Supreme Court vacancies.

Manchin said only one of the nominees was not confirmed, Merrick Garland, who President Barack Obama nominated in March 2016. The U.S. Senate, under U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), opted not to take up the nomination at that time.

When asked about his potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees, Manchin said former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, should make Garland his No. 1 candidate.

“There’s a gentlemen who never even got a fair shot and he’s one of the most accredited, bipartisan jurists that we’ve had to come before us but we couldn’t even get a shot at that,” he said.

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said she would support moving forward with consideration of President Trump’s nominee.

“President Trump and the Republican Senate, both elected by the American people, should act to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg’s passing,” Sen. Capito said in a statement.

“The Constitution authorizes the president to name a nominee, and it gives the Senate the power to approve or disapprove of that nomination. West Virginians and the American people expect us to exercise that responsibility.”

In March 2016, when President Obama nominated Garland after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Capito said the election cycle should be completed before the nominee was considered.

“With just a few months until the election, West Virginians should have an opportunity to express their views and elect a new president who will select the Supreme Court justice,” Sen. Capito said at that time.

In Washington, D.C., memorial events for Justice Ginsburg, who died Friday at the age of 87, began Wednesday morning when her casket arrived at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Two days of public visitation outside were planned before Friday when Justice Ginsburg was to make history by becoming the first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.

Justice Ginsburg will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery.

On Monday, Manchin talked about the passing of Justice Ginsburg and the process of confirming her replacement during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

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