Arizona’s special senate race could keep Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat empty by the Forward

Arizona’s special senate race could keep Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat empty

Image by getty images

A special senate race to fill the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s seat in Arizona could be the tipping point in the fight over confirming a Supreme Court Justice to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Democrat Mark Kelly, the former astronaut and husband of ex-Rep Gabby Giffords, who is Jewish, is likely to win a race against Republican Sen. Martha McSally and could get sworn in early, according to state law. That would shrink the Republican Senate majority, slashing the number of necessary GOP defectors from four to three to block a Supreme Court appointment.

Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have already indicated they would decline to tow the party line, and Mitt Romney of Utah might.

The Arizona election is on November 3, but a Superior Court of Arizona ruling on a similar case said that a special election winner “is entitled to take office once the election process is concluded.”

The Senate Republicans hold a 53-to-47 majority, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

This position lies in stark contrast to his blocking of President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia. in that case, he stalled, offering the explanation that “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.”

Mark Kelly served as a naval aviator and joined NASA in 1996, piloting space shuttles until 2011. His wife was nearly killed in an assassination attempt in 2011 and the two founded a nonprofit that advocates for gun control.


Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon is an investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon .

AZ’s special senate race could keep RBG’s seat empty

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Arizona’s special senate race could keep Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat empty

Thank you!

This article has been sent!