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Politics, Elections and Government

Kansas and Missouri Republicans Vow To Fill RBG's Supreme Court Seat During Trump’s Term

Josh Hawley, Mike Lee
Jacquelyn Martin
In this file photo, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, speaks during a Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer rights hearing earlier this week on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Abortion is already an issue, as Missouri’s Josh Hawley, who Trump has said he’d like on the high court, vowed to fight for a replacement who will undo Roe v. Wade.

Updated Sunday at 10:30 a.m.

Even as they offered condolences to the family of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Missouri and Kansas Republicans vowed over the weekend to push forward on filling the high court vacancy.

Just a day after her death, President Trump on Saturday urged Senate Republicans to move “without delay” to replace Ginsberg and it appeared that he could nominate a successor as early as next week.

Republicans were in lock step with Trump, including Missouri's two senators. Kansas' Sen. Jerry Moran and another GOP congressman, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, who hopes to win the Senate this year, have also expressed support for filling the seat. Another who is retiring, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, didn't comment.

On Sunday, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican, said on CBS's "Face the Nation," that it took just 40 days to confirm Ginsburg. A confirmation to fill her seat could happen soon if the nomination by Trump and the vetting by the Senate goes smoothly, he said.

“This should take as long as it needs to take, but no longer," Blunt said. "There is plenty of time to get this done but to get it done before Election Day everything has to work, I think, pretty precisely."

Faced with his blocking then-President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016, when Blunt refused to even meet with the federal appellate judge, Blunt suggested that this year's predicament is not the same.

"We were in a situation in 2016 where the White House was controlled by one party, the Senate by another and the referee in that case was going to be the American people," he told "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan, who said there were "cries of hypocrisy" about Blunt's position.

"In this case, both the White House and the Senate have some obligation to do what they think, the majority of the Senate, is the right thing to do and there is a Senate majority put there by voters for reasons like this," Blunt said.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley was on a list of potential justices that Trump floated earlier this month. At the time, the first-term Republican said he was not interested.

In a statement released Saturday morning, Hawley, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Republicans to reject any nominee who has not committed to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that gave women abortion rights. Hawley added in a tweet that other GOP senators should “take the same stand.”

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On the Kansas side, where flags were ordered at half-staff in honor of Ginsburg Friday night by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican, said he supported Trump's wish to seat a new justice this year, according to spokesman Tom Brandt.

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U.S. Rep Roger Marshall, who is running for Senate against Kansas Sen. Barbara Bollier, said during a Saturday debate in Topeka that he supports Trump's move to nominate a high court candidate and get a conservative seated soon.

"I'm encouraging the president to bring this nomination forth. I'm encouraging the Senate to act on it," Marshall said. "Look, this is why this election is so important. We need senators who are going to confirm conservative, constitutionalist, pro-life judges."

Bollier shot back, saying the job of confirming judges for a lifelong post on the nation's highest court is a grave responsibility.

"It shouldn't be politicized," she said. "The leaders who are elected in November are who should be voting and confirming who will be filling our vacancies on the Supreme Court."

The Kansas News Service's Scott Canon contributed to this report.

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