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Manchin: No vote on Supreme Court vacancy before Nov. 3

WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Wednesday he will not be voting to set a precedent if a Supreme Court nomination is made before the election.

Manchin said he is not planning to vote at this time for any nominee to fill the vacancy out of concern the Senate will not have adequate time to vet the nominee and because he believes the process is too politicized.

President Trump has said he will announce a nominee Saturday to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away last week.

Manchin held a press conference on Zoom and telephone with reporters from around the state to discuss the nomination. He expressed his intent to vote no as a protest to how the situation is being handled, not the qualifications of the nominee.

Manchin, citing history from the Congressional Research Center, said starting Jan. 1 of any election year beginning in 1789, there have only been 13 Supreme Court justice seats that have been empty during that time.

Of the 13, nine came open during the first six months of the year. Of those nine, eight were confirmed and filled while only one was not, Manchin said.

“That was Merrick Garland,” Manchin said of the 2016 nomination by President Barack Obama which the Republican Senate majority refused to take up.

From July 1 to election day in any election year, only four vacancies on the Supreme Court have come up, Manchin said.

“Of the four none of them were confirmed and filled,” Manchin said.

Presidents John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower did not put a nominee forward close to an election, Manchin said. Only President Millard Fillmore put up a nominee, which the Senate tabled and did not consider.

“It was not ethical for them to take it up,” he said.

If this had happened in the first part of the year, Manchin said the Senate would have time to vet a candidate. However, with just over 40 days until the election, Manchin believes this is not the time.

“Right now in the most divisive and toxic atmosphere we have ever had, why do you want to throw so many flames on a divided country,” Manchin said. “Why would you want to burn it even further and scorch it now? I don’t know why. All we are asking for is to wait until the election.”

Manchin quoted many of his Republican colleagues, who in 2016 said they would not move forward on the Garland nomination 10 months before the election.

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