BILLINGS, Mont. - In the Montana Senate race, incumbent Senator Steve Daines and Governor Steve Bullock weighed in on President Trump's goal of naming a new Supreme Court justice to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
This isn't the first time a Supreme Court seat has opened in a presidential election year. In fact, it's happened 15 times in our nation's history. Each time, the sitting president has nominated a successor. Sen. Daines says he is in favor of a nomination before ballots are cast this November, but Gov. Bullock argues, why rush?
"The Constitution gives the Senate the sole power over whether to confirm or reject a president's nomination to the Supreme Court," Daines said.
In the wake of Justice Ginsburg's passing, Sen. Daines is confident whomever President Trump nominates, will be confirmed by the Supreme Court.
"When one party has controlled the White House and the U.S. Senate, the president has nominated, and the Senate has confirmed a Supreme Court justice," Daines said.
Sen. Daines said he supports the president's goal of filling the seat before the November 3 election – a move he opposed back in 2016. He says the difference between then and now is President Obama was term limited and not up for re-election.
The senator also pointed out another key difference between 2016 and 2020.
"In 2016, the White House and the Senate were controlled by opposing parties," Daines said.
Daines says a justice nomination from President Trump is in line with his own vision for Montana.
"Someone who will defend the second amendment and support forest management projects, and the Keystone Pipeline," Daines said.
But Gov. Bullock argues the decision should be made after the ballots are counted in November.
"I think we should follow the process that Steve Daines and Mitch McConnell laid out four years ago," Bullock said.
He said he also wonders if Sen. Daines' stance on the future nomination was influenced by other factors.
"I don't know if this is about the lawsuit a week after the election that could literally rip away health care from Montanans, than it is about this independent branch of the court," Bullock said.
Gov. Bullock says politics should be taken out of the equation.
"I've argued in front of the Supreme Court, it shouldn't be political," Bullock said.
One thing that will likely not change is the gender of the person filling Justice Ginsburg's former seat. President Trump has said he plans to nominate a woman as a replacement.