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'It would create a constitutional crisis': Democrats, Republicans clash on when to fill Supreme Court vacancy

'It would create a constitutional crisis': Democrats, Republicans clash on when to fill Supreme Court vacancy

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is wrapping up a marathon week on Capitol Hill meeting with Republican Senators.

Barrett's nomination has angered Democrats, who have urged Republicans to allow whoever is elected as the next president to fill the vacancy.

Republicans, however, say an incomplete court could create a constitutional crisis when the Supreme Court takes up cases next term.

"If the court were to have only eight justices, it could divide 4-4," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said. "And under the constitution, a 4-4 court can't decide anything."

Cruz says that's why the Senate needs to quickly confirm Barrett. She has met with dozens of Republican Senators this week, but so far, no Democrats.

Democrats say filling the open seat on the court should wait until after the November election. They insist voters should have a say in the selection by either returning Trump and a Republican majority Senate or flipping the Senate and electing Joe Biden.

"I think Roe v. Wade, if Judge Barrett got on the court, could either be eliminated or at the very minimum so blatantly restricted that you wouldn’t even recognize it," Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said.

But Cruz says the court needs to get to full strength as soon as possible.

"It would create a constitutional crisis," without one, Cruz said.

"We could face conflicting court of appeals judges simultaneously; no Supreme Court would be able to resolve that," he went on.

Kristen Waggoner with conservative Alliance Defending Freedom is hopeful there are nine justices when she argues her case on college campus free speech in January.

"If there is only eight justices on the court, and there is a tie, for example, then what that means is whatever the lower court ruling was, that ruling stands," Waggoner explained.

Barrett's confirmation hearings are set to begin Oct. 12.


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