Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., says she looks forward to meeting U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett “and will consider her based on her merits as West Virginians would expect me to do.”
Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., urged a slowdown for the process.
“I will not vote to confirm Judge Coney Barrett or any Supreme Court nominee before Election Day on Nov. 3,” Manchin stated. “I urge my Republican friends to slow down, put people before politics, and give their constituents a chance to vote.”
West Virginia’s two senators are demonstrating the debate America is about to have over the open Supreme Court seat just weeks before the General Election.
Barrett is being considered for the Supreme Court seat held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a progressive icon, who died a little more than a week ago.
President Donald Trump appointed Barrett to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago just three years ago. Both Capito and Manchin voted to confirm her to the federal bench.
Before that, she taught law at the University of Notre Dame for 15 years and clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia.
Trump introduced Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee on Saturday evening and alluded to controversy over the timing.
“I’m sure it’ll be extremely noncontroversial,” Trump said, meaning the opposite. Then he referred to the contentious confirmation process for Justice Brett Kavanaugh: “We said that the last time, didn’t we?”
Trump said, “This should be a straightforward and prompt confirmation. Should be very easy. Good luck. It’s going to be very quick.”
Controversy has swirled over proximity to the upcoming General Election, as well as the Senate GOP majority’s refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court in 2016.
Voting for the General Election has already started in some states. West Virginia’s early voting period begins in less than a month, Oct. 21.
On March 16, 2016, Capito said the election cycle should be concluded before the Supreme Court nominee was considered.
“Before a Supreme Court justice is confirmed to a lifetime position on the bench, West Virginians and the American people should have the ability to weigh in at the ballot box this November. My position does not change with the naming of a nominee today,” Capito said in 2016.
At that point, Capito concluded, “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.”
In a statement today, Capito did not specify a timetable to consider Barrett’s nomination, but indicated support.
“She has demonstrated a strong commitment to the rule of law and to carefully considering the text and history of the Constitution,” Capito stated today.
“I look forward to meeting with Judge Barrett soon as the Senate moves forward with the confirmation process and will consider her based on her merits as West Virginians would expect me to do.”
With the Garland nomination in 2016, Manchin had said the nominee should get a hearing.
Today, Manchin said he would “review Judge Coney Barrett’s legal qualifications and judicial philosophy just as I have done with every Supreme Court nominee that has come before the Senate during my time as a Senator.”
But he warned not to go so fast.
“Rushing to confirm a Supreme Court nominee weeks before a presidential election has never been done before in the history of our nation and it will only fan the flames of division at a time when our country is deeply divided,” Manchin stated.
“I cannot support a process that risks further division of the American people at a time when we desperately need to come together.”
Gov. Jim Justice, a Republican who often talks about his close relationship with the president, praised Capito’s support for the nomination and said Manchin should take the same position.
“My sincere congratulations go out to President Trump on an outstanding selection for the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s career is proof that she is committed to upholding our Constitution and the rule of law,” Justice stated.
“I want to thank Senator Capito for her commitment to considering this nomination based upon her merits. I also want to encourage Senator Manchin to support this excellent selection by our President, Donald J. Trump.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, also a Republican, also issued a statement about Barrett’s nomination.
“I urge the Senate to put aside partisanship, give Judge Barrett swift consideration and confirm someone who obviously has the qualifications to sit on our nation’s highest bench,” Morrisey stated.