“In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd,” Senator Collins said in a statement.
Republicans, who blocked an Obama appointment in 2016, try to deflect charges of hypocrisy.
Senate Republicans defended their plans to seat a nominee chosen by President Trump in a presidential election year, despite previously blocking the consideration of a Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Barack Obama in 2016.
“What we’re proposing is completely consistent, completely consistent with the precedent,” Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming and a member of Senate leadership, claimed on “Meet the Press.”
In 2016, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, with the backing of his Republican caucus, refused to allow a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick B. Garland almost eight months before the election.
“We think the important principle in the middle of this presidential year is that the American people need to weigh in and decide who’s going to make this decision,” Mr. McConnell said then. He and most of his Republican colleagues are taking a very different stance now.
Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas and one of the names on Mr. Trump’s short list for the open seat, said on Fox News Sunday that “the Senate majority is performing our constitutional duty and fulfilling the mandate that voters gave us in 2016 and 2018,” echoing the argument made by other Republicans that because the same party controls the White House and the Senate, the situation is different than in 2016.
(Few Republicans made that distinction in 2016 after Justice Antonin Scalia died.)
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” the host, Jake Tapper, played clips of Republicans — including President Trump — opposing Mr. Obama’s appointment in 2016. But Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, rejected the suggestion that they had reversed position.