Mixed, Mostly Quiet Response to Supreme Court Vacancy by Ohio Legislators


After the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, most of Ohio’s congressional representatives expressed condolences, almost none weighing in on whether or not Ginsburg’s replacement should be chosen before the election.

Of Ohio’s 16 congressional representatives, it appears only Representative Marcia Fudge of Ohio’s 11th district has taken a stand on the issue, and then only by retweeting Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy’s statement on the subject.

Members of the House of Representatives are not directly involved in the process to select supreme court justices, a job left to the Senate, and the President.

Senator Sherrod Brown said in a statement that “the American people deserve a voice in the momentous decision we now face, and it was her dying wish, according to her family, that we wait for their choice to lead us to take office in January to confirm a new justice.”

Brown doubled down on the sentiment on Twitter, saying that “the American people deserve a voice in the momentous decision we now face.”

In a 2016 statement, Brown said in a statement regarding the nomination of Merrick Garland by President Obama to fill the supreme court seat vacated by Antonin Scalia “President Obama is doing his job and nominating Judge Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Now it’s time for Senators to do our jobs.” Brown went on to call Garland an “unquestionably qualified nominee who has earned support from both Republicans and Democrats in the past” and said that he expected his “colleagues to put politics aside, do the job we were elected to do and give Judge Garland full and fair consideration. Anything less undermines our democracy.”

Ohio Senator Robert Portman took a different approach to the issue saying in a statement that “In the more than two dozen vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court during a presidential election year in our nation’s history, the sitting president made a nomination in every single case. Leader McConnell has said that he will hold a vote on any nominee President Trump sends to the Senate, and I intend to fulfill my role as a U.S. Senator and judge that nominee based on his or her merits.”

While Portman helped oppose Garland’s appointment in 2016 Portman said that “In 2016, when the vacancy occurred following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, I said ‘the president has every right to nominate a Supreme Court justice … But the founders also gave the Senate the exclusive right to decide whether to move forward on that nominee.’ Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposing-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.

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Ben Kolodny is a reporter for The Ohio Star and the Star News Network. You can follow Ben on Twitter. Tips can be sent to [email protected]





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