Where Senators Stand on Replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Within hours of RBG's death, senators began speaking out about whether they'll vote to fill her vacancy during an election year.

us vote court
(Image credit: Tom Brenner)

On September 18, 2020, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. The 87-year-old justice was a trailblazer for women everywhere, and her death has left Americans unable to comprehend what the future of the United States holds.

Initially, there were conflicting reports about whether or not President Donald Trump can and would nominate a Supreme Court justice during an election year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) quickly became the decision maker. In 2016, McConnell infamously prevented Merrick Garland—President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nomination—from being confirmed to fill the vacancy of Justice Antonin Scalia by refusing to hold a hearing or vote. Instead, he said the next president should choose the nomination and let President Obama's nomination expire. Donald Trump ended up nominating Neil Gorsuch.

Within hours of the announcement of RBG's death, senators began speaking out about whether or not there should be a vote to confirm RBG's replacement during an election year. RBG dictated the following statement to her granddaughter, Clara Spera, on her deathbed: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." Ultimately, McConnell and and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have decided that precedent—and RBG's wish—doesn't matter and they will move forward with confirmation hearings the week of October 12 for President Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett—a religious conservative judge that currently serves on the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals—who will determine the course of our nation for decades to come.

Coney Barrett will likely be confirmed to the Supreme Court, unless Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and two other Republican senators vote "no." Below, the senators' initial thoughts on whether or not there should be an official nomination before the 2020 election, and whether or not they'll vote to confirm Judge Barrett:

Kamala Harris (D-CA): No / No

Chuck Schumer (D-NY): No / No

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): No / No

Mitch McConnell (R-KY): Yes / Yes

Martha McSally (R-AZ): Yes / Yes

Ed Markey (D-MA): No / No

Richard Blumenthal (D-CT): No / No

Mazie Hirono (D-HI): No / No

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): No / No

Bob Casey (D-PA): No / No

Bob Menendez (D-NJ): No / No

Ted Cruz (R-TX): Yes / Yes

Bernie Sanders (D-VT): No / No

Chris Murphy (D-CT): No / No

Rick Scott (R-FL): Yes / Yes

Kelly Loeffler (R-GA): Yes / Yes

Brian Schatz (D-HI): No / No

Tammy Duckworth (D-IL): No / No

Angus King (D-ME): No / No

Chris Van Hollen (D-MD): No / No

Susan Collins (R-ME): No / Unclear

Lindsey Graham (R-SC): Yes / Yes

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): No / Unclear

John Barrasso (R-WY): Yes / Yes

Roy Blunt (R-MO): Yes / Yes

Mike Braun (R-IN): Yes / Yes

Tom Cotton (R-AR): Yes / Yes

Steve Daines (R-MT): Yes / Yes

Roger Wicker (R-MS): Yes / Yes

Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): Yes / Yes

Josh Hawley (R-MO): Yes / Yes

Rob Portman (R-OH): Yes / Yes

John Thune (R-SD): Yes / Yes

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI): No / No

Sherrod Brown (D-OH): No / No

Tom Carper (D-DE): No / No

Dick Durbin (D-IL): No / No

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): No / No

Martin Heinrich (D-NM): No / No

Tim Kaine (D-VA): No / No

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): No / No

Patrick Leahy (D-VT): No / No

Patty Murray (D-WA): No / No

Gary Peters (D-MI): No / No

Debbie Stabenow (D-MI): No / No

Tom Udall (D-NM): No / No

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI): No / No

Cory Gardner (R-CO): Yes / Yes

Chuck Grassley (R-IA): Yes / Yes

Mitt Romney (R-UT): Yes / Yes

Doug Jones (D-AL): No / No

Marco Rubio (R-FL): Yes / Yes

Cory Booker (D-NJ): No / No

John Coryn (R-TX): Yes / Yes

Senator Coryn doesn't have a Twitter, but you can read his statements here and here.

Joni Ernst (R-IA): Yes / Yes

Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): Yes / Yes

Thom Tillis (R-NC): Yes / Yes

David Perdue (R-GA): Yes / Yes

This post will be updated.


washington, dc august 30 supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg, celebrating her 20th anniversary on the bench, is photographed in the east conference room at the us supreme court in washington, dc, on friday, august 30, 2013 photo by nikki kahnthe washington post via getty images

(Image credit: The Washington Post)
Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.