McConnell: Senate will vote on Trump court pick to replace Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on President Donald Trump’s pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, even though it’s an election year.

The Republican Senate leader issued a statement Friday night, about an hour and a half after the Supreme Court announced the liberal justice’s death from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

When conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, also an election year, McConnell refused to act on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the opening. The seat remained vacant until after Trump’s surprising presidential victory.

Trump ended up nominating Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed to the court.

The 2020 election is 46 days away.

McConnell had earlier said he would move to confirm a Trump nominee if there were a vacancy this year.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court to mourn the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday night.

The crowd left candles, flowers, small American flags and handwritten condolence messages. Some wept as they placed the bouquets of flowers on the steps. “RBG” was also drawn inside a pink chalk heart in the sidewalk. Flags outside the court were also flying at half staff.