North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis said Saturday that he will support President Trump's nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
Tillis, who is facing Democrat Cal Cunningham, said the circumstances of this year's vacancy are different than in 2016, when Senate leader Mitch McConnell blocked Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland. McConnell refused to hold a hearing for 11 months, saying the nomination and confirmation process should be done after the election.
In a statement, Tillis said the circumstances are different.
“Four years ago, a Supreme Court vacancy arose under divided government and a lame-duck president as Americans were choosing his successor. Today, however, President Trump is again facing voters at the ballot box and North Carolinians will ultimately render their judgment on his presidency and how he chooses to fill the vacancy," Tillis said.
In his statement, Tillis did not definitively say he would vote to confirm a justice before the election, or even in a lame-duck session before Congress takes office in January.
He added that "there is a clear choice on the future of the Supreme Court between the well-qualified and conservative jurist President Trump will nominate and I will support, and the liberal activist Joe Biden will nominate and Cal Cunningham will support, who will legislate radical, left-wing policies from the bench.”
Tillis and Cunningham debate for the second time Tuesday.
Cunningham released a statement Saturday saying the nominee should be decided after the election.
“North Carolinians are already voting and will continue to do so in the coming weeks. They deserve that opportunity to have their voices heard, and then, it should be up to the next President and next Senate to fill the vacancy on our Court,” Cunningham said.
Go behind the headlines with WFAE political reporter Steve Harrison in his weekly newsletter, Inside Politics. Steve will provide insight about and analysis of local and statewide politics. Readers will gain an understanding of political news on the horizon and why it matters.