Michigan senators say next president should fill court vacancy

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Michigan’s two Democrats in the U.S. Senate said Saturday the next president should make the nomination to fill the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.

Their remarks came as President Donald Trump, a Republican, urged the GOP-controlled Senate to consider “without delay” his forthcoming nomination. Trump also indicated his nominee would be a woman.

FILE - Michigan U.S. Senators Gary Peters, left, and Debbie Stabenow.

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing and Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township said Americans should have the chance through the presidential election in six weeks to make their wishes known concerning the direction of the nation.

“The new majority on the United States Supreme Court will make decisions that directly impact our daily lives and our way of life as Americans — on fundamental issues like health care, reproductive choice, voting rights, environmental protections and civil rights. This is a pivotal time for our country,” Stabenow said in a statement.

More:How Ginsburg’s death could reshape the presidential campaign

More:GOP senators confront past comments on Supreme Court vote

More:Michigan officials mourn 'warrior for justice' Ginsburg

“The presidential election is already underway — voters are already casting their ballots in many states. We should honor the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by letting the people decide and allowing the next President and the next U.S. Senate to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.”


Peters, who is running for a second term, said “the stakes for Michigan families couldn’t be higher: health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Roe v. Wade and women’s health care, civil rights, voting rights, and workers’ rights are on the line.

“Acting on a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court with 45 days until Election Day would further divide the Senate and our country — and voting is already underway or will soon begin, including in Michigan,” Peters said in a statement.

“Voters should have their voices heard, and there should not be a Supreme Court nomination until the next presidential term begins.”

Other Senate Democrats have also said the seat should sit vacant until the outcome of Trump’s contest with Democratic nominee Joe Biden is settled.

In this July 27, 2020, file photo Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement hours after Ginsburg’s death that he would hold a floor vote on Trump’s nominee. He did not say whether that would be before or after the election.

“Americans re-elected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise,’’ McConnell said.

Biden said the Senate should wait, saying “voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice to consider.”

Michigan has one woman on Trump’s list of potential nominees: Judge Joan Larsen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

She was a law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and previously served in the Michigan Supreme Court and taught at the University of Michigan Law School.