Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said Sunday the Senate should confirm a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the Nov. 3 election.
Mr. Cruz said a deadlocked Supreme Court that might have to litigate the election results could spark a “constitutional crisis.”
“An equally divided court, 4-4, can’t decide anything,” Mr. Cruz said on ABC’s “This Week.” “That could make this presidential election drag on weeks and months and well into next year. That is an intolerable situation for the country.”
Mr. Cruz said that historically, vacancies generally have been filled during election years when the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party, as is the case right now.
“It’s not just simply your party, my party,” he said. “It’s a question of checks and balances.”
“In this instance, the American people voted. They elected Donald Trump,” he said. “A big part of the reason they elected Donald Trump is because of the [Justice Antonin] Scalia vacancy and they wanted [a] principled constitutionalist on the court.”
He said the GOP currently controls the U.S. Senate in large part because the American people affirmed in recent election cycles that they want “constitutionalist judges.”
“So the president was elected to do this and the Senate was elected to confirm this nomination,” he said.
Mr. Cruz was on President Trump’s most recent list of potential Supreme Court picks, though the president said over the weekend he will likely nominate a woman to fill the seat of Justice Ginsburg, who died Friday of pancreatic cancer at the age of 87.
In 2016, Mr. Cruz had supported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy to block any hearings or votes on Judge Merrick Garland, who former President Barack Obama nominated for the Supreme Court in March 2016.
Mr. McConnell said the American people should get a chance to weigh in through that year’s presidential election. He says the situation is different now because the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party.
In October 2016, Mr. Cruz had suggested that Senate Republicans could indefinitely block any Supreme Court nominee put forward by Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, if she won the election.
“That’s a debate that we are going to have,” he said then. “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice [Stephen G.] Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job.”