“I will not support the confirmation of any Supreme Court justice nominee, regardless of who it might be. I will not support that nominee before the outcome of the November 3 election has been determined,” said Jones during a Facebook livestream.
“We should not force the country into a brutal and divisive partisan fight to confirm a Supreme Court justice … while Americans are already voting to choose their next president,” Jones added.
Jones criticized Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for what he described as rushing a nomination to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg, who died a week ago, calling the nomination process a “blatant political power grab.” McConnell announced hours after Ginsburg’s death that he’ll hold a vote on Trump’s nominee on the Senate floor, and several high-profile Republicans — including Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — have committed to holding a Senate vote before Election Day, November 3.
Jones added: “Power grabs are not uncommon in our political system, but few are accompanied by such blatant hypocrisy,” a reference to how McConnell refused to advance the nomination of then-President Barack Obama’s judicial pick Merrick Garland in 2016.
“This new effort by Senator McConnell will be a tear in the fabric of our government that may be irreparable,” he said.
McConnell does not appear to need the support of any Democrats to advance the nomination. As Republicans hold 53 seats, the majority leader can lose three and still confirm the nominee with a 50-50 tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. So far only two GOP senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have said they’ll oppose advancing Trump’s nominee ahead of Election Day.
Jones said it’s become clear his hope for some of his Republican colleagues to stand up “will be dashed,” acknowledging however the resistance from Murkowski and Collins.
“There are already enough committed Republicans to confirm President Trump’s nominee, regardless of who it is going to be … The outcome is baked in, and it will happen in the latter part of October,” he said.
A moderate Democrat in one of the toughest reelection fights this cycle, Jones said that while his vote on Trump’s nominee will not affect the outcome, it will not be inconsequential.