WASHINGTON, DC (WJHL) – As internal divisions arise within the GOP over the Biden administration’s potential replacements for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) shared her own impressions. on the confirmation responsibilities of the Senate.
“The president, it’s his choice,” Blackburn said in an interview with News Channel 11. “And his decision who he wants to appoint.”
Blackburn had just left the Senate when she explained that her judgment on the nominee would be reserved until he was officially announced by President Biden. Other GOP members, however, weighed in on the potential shortlist of candidates — all black women — who could serve on the Supreme Court.
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) likened the decision to affirmative action during a radio interview, calling the potential judge a “beneficiary” of the policy and saying it’s unlikely any new candidate gets a “single Republican vote”. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) contradicted Wicker’s assertion later on CBS’s Face the Nation, saying he supports institutions that “look like America” and saying the Republican Party strives to recruit women and people of color to become more representative.
Graham sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee alongside Blackburn, and the group is responsible for initial vetting and review of nominations before they are introduced to the U.S. Senate as a whole. Blackburn is one of four women on the committee and the only female Republican member. Wicker does not sit on the committee.
“It is my responsibility to do my constitutional duty, which is to get to know the candidate, to examine his writings, his opinions, his speeches, to determine where he stands on different issues, to look at how he has governed in the past, to get to ask them about their judicial philosophy,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn also warned that the process could take time, although many current senators are unfamiliar with a rushed confirmation timeline after Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed a month after her nomination on September 26, 2020 without Democratic support and no GOP vote. Senator Susan Collins.
“All of this takes a long time; every senator will have questions,” Blackburn said. “It’s such an essential part of the advice and consent role that the Constitution delegates to the US Senate.”
Potential delay tactics that could delay the decision until midterm elections are scrapped in 2017, as the dubbed “nuclear option” changed Supreme Court confirmations to a simple majority and effectively ended power of the Senate minority to withhold appointments. The decision was backed by 52 Republicans and 0 Democrats and led to the election of Trump candidate Neil Gorsuch around Democratic opposition.
When asked if the GOP’s decision to remove the filibuster — which could have delayed Biden’s nomination until at least midterm and possibly further — was being discussed within the party , Blackburn said now was “really not the time” to think about possible rule changes.
“We’ll see what happens once the candidate is nominated,” Blackburn said.