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Manchin clarifies: He’d oppose second high court nominee right before presidential election

Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Monday said he would not support confirming another nominee selected by President BidenJoe BidenCory Booker and Rosario Dawson have reportedly split US ups estimate of Russian forces on Ukraine border to 130,000 Harris heads to Munich at pivotal moment MORE for the Supreme Court immediately before the 2024 presidential election, clarifying remarks he’d made earlier about the midterm elections.

Manchin said he would prefer to wait until the country knows who will occupy the White House in 2025.

Manchin walked back the comment he made earlier afternoon indicating that he would not support confirming a second Biden nominee to the Supreme Court if another vacancy occurs shortly before the Nov. 8 midterm election.  

Asked if the Senate should act if another seat becomes vacant “later in the year closer to the election,” Manchin responded: “I’m not going to be hypocritical on that. 

“If it comes a week or two weeks before like it did with our last Supreme Court nominee, I think that’s a time it should go to the next election,” he said.   

Manchin’s comments immediately attracted attention on Twitter after several reporters posted his comments.  

He then explained to reporters that he “misspoke” and that he would only support holding up a Supreme Court confirmation proceeding immediately before the next presidential election.  

“I was referring to that election, before a major presidential election,” he said.  

That’s the position he and other Democrats took in the fall of 2020 after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September of that year.  

Democrats insisted that then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans take cheap shots at Fed nominees Republicans do not have a right to remain silent White House uses GOP’s own rhetoric to rebut Supreme Court criticisms MORE (R-Ky.) wait until after the election to move a nominee so that the winner of the presidential contest could make the choice — the same position McConnell took in 2016 when he blocked President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe allure of ‘strong and wrong’ Omicron is creating new havoc in our criminal justice system Democrats in a fury as Trump docs revive trauma of Clinton emails MORE’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandAmerican Airlines flight makes emergency landing due to ‘unruly’ passenger Unions urge Biden to protect airport agents from unruly passengers Congressional Black Caucus members press DOJ on voting rights: ‘No lawsuit is too trivial’ MORE from getting a Senate hearing or vote.  

Manchin was outspoken in opposing McConnell’s plan to speed President TrumpDonald TrumpBlack voters are fleeing Biden in droves. Here’s why Biden’s Super Bowl prediction: ‘Loves’ Bengals’ quarterback, but Rams ‘hard to beat’ GOP Senate candidate to run ‘Let’s go Brandon’ ad during Super Bowl MORE’s third Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettWhite House uses GOP’s own rhetoric to rebut Supreme Court criticisms Playing the race card is an injustice — especially with the Supreme Court Will Republicans apply the ‘Barrett rule’ to Biden’s nominee? MORE, through the Senate confirmation process before the 2020 presidential election.  

“Rushing to confirm a Supreme Court nominee weeks before a presidential election has never been done before in the history of our nation and it will only fan the flames of division at a time when our country is deeply divided,” he said at the time.  

“I cannot support a process that risks further division of the American people at a time when we desperately need to come together. I will not vote to confirm Judge Coney Barrett or any Supreme Court nominee before Election Day on November 3rd. I urge my Republican friends to slow down, put people before politics, and give their constituents a chance to vote.” 

Moderate Republican Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsWhite House uses GOP’s own rhetoric to rebut Supreme Court criticisms On The Money — Inflation hits highest rate since February 1982 Three indicted following investigation into illegal donation scheme to Collins campaign, PAC MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRepublicans do not have a right to remain silent McConnell-McCarthy split heading into November  Republicans press archivist against certifying Equal Rights Amendment MORE (Alaska) joined Manchin in calling for Republicans to await the outcome of the election to let the winner pick Ginsburg’s successor.  

Collins at the time cited the treatment of Garland in 2016 as the reason why she wanted to hit the pause button on Trump’s nominee.  

“When the Senate considers nominees to the United States Supreme Court, it is particularly important that we act fairly and consistently, using the same set of rules, no matter which political party is in power,” she said in late October 2020.  

Murkowski voted against a motion to end debate on Barrett’s nomination and advance her nomination. But she voted “aye” on the final confirmation vote.  

“I voted no on the motion to proceed yesterday because I have stated on multiple occasions since 2016 I do not believe the Senate should take up a Supreme Court nomination this close to a presidential election,” she said, explaining her “no” vote on the procedural motion.  

Manchin voted to confirm Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court, Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughAdvocates fear Supreme Court’s Alabama moves could weaken minority protections in VRA Will Republicans apply the ‘Barrett rule’ to Biden’s nominee? Joy Reid: US democracy ‘already in decline’ MORE, weeks before the 2018 midterm elections. He was the only Democrat to vote for Trump’s pick after a bruising confirmation battle.

This story was updated at 6:37 p.m. 

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