Alaska Senator Murkowski said Friday she would not vote for a justice ahead of Inauguration Day

A woman speaking at a podium
Senator Lisa Murkowski at the August 26, 2020, opening ceremony for the Operation Lady Justice Task Force Cold Case Office in Anchorage, Alaska. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Shortly before the announcement that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in an interview that if she was presented with a vacancy on the court, she would not vote to confirm a nominee before the election.

Ginsburg died in her home in Washington D.C. at the age of 87 of complications from pancreatic cancer.

“I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election,” she said.

Murkowski said her reasoning is based on the same reasoning that held up the confirmation of former President Barack Obama’s final nominee to the Supreme Court.

She also noted that months prior to the 2016 presidential election, while Obama was still president, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Americans needed to pick the next president before the Senate confirmed a new justice to the Supreme Court.

“That was too close to an election, and that the people needed to decide,” Murkowski said, recalling McConnell’s argument at the time. “That the closer you get to an election, that argument becomes even more important.”

President Trump is expected to try to push Ginsburg’s successor through the Republican-controlled Senate. A new justice could be confirmed by a simple majority of 51. Murkowski is one of 53 Republican senators.