Ohio congressman: Delay replacing Justice Kennedy till after fall election

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy - Fast Facts

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Youngstown-area Congressman Tim Ryan called on the Senate Wednesday to delay confirmation of a new justice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy until after the November elections when Democrats have a chance to re-gain control of the Senate.

In a reminder that in 2016 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blocked a Senate vote on President Barack Obama’s choice of federal appeals Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, Ryan, D-Niles, said Senate Republicans should not hold a floor vote on a new justice until after November.

RELATED: Key decisions in Justice Kennedy's career

“McConnell should follow his own precedent and forgo any vote on a replacement until after the American people have had their voices heard in the midterms,” Ryan said.

McConnell’s move infuriated Democrats who complained he deliberately used his power as majority leader to keep the seat open until Donald Trump won the presidency in November of 2016. Trump then nominated federal appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed by the Senate last year.

Ryan complained “in the last few years we’ve seen an unparalleled unraveling of reproductive rights, voting rights, and workers’ rights alongside a grotesque influx of dark money into our political system thanks to the Supreme Court,” adding if Trump “is able to install another ultra-conservative ideologue to the court, we can only expect it to get worse.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, who voted against Gorsuch’s nomination, said he was “already very troubled by the actions of the Supreme Court in just the last few weeks – taking away workers’ rights, voters’ rights and women’s rights.”

“I hope the president will take this opportunity to bring Americans together by appointing someone with a well-respected record that all sides can support.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he was “grateful” for Kennedy’s years on the court, adding the “president and Congress must now work together to do the important work of putting a highly qualified person in place who understands this role.”

The new nomination is likely to provoke an intense confirmation battle because Kennedy was the fifth vote on preserving a woman’s right to choose an abortion as guaranteed by the 1973 court ruling, Roe v. Wade.

Mike Gonidakis, president of the Ohio Right to Life, said “moments like these are why pro-life Americans elected President Donald Trump. He has the historic opportunity to add a justice who will serve as the fifth pro-life vote on the court. Ohio Right to Life’s goal has always been to overturn Roe v. Wade and to see the end of abortion.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said “with this new Supreme Court vacancy, Roe and the constitutional right to access abortion hangs in the balance.”