Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's public fight with Sen. Tammy Baldwin continued Wednesday as the Republican governor called on the Democratic senator to give President Donald Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominee a vote.
Baldwin said earlier this month she would not provide one of the 60 votes needed for Judge Neil Gorsuch to overcome a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.
The Supreme Court seat, vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, has been open for nearly a year, after Republicans refused to hold confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama's nominee.
"People can discuss all they want about the nomination that was made last year. We can’t rehash that, we can’t go back in time, whether you agree or disagree with that process," Walker said. "Going forward, the only choice before the United States Senate is whether or not they’re going to confirm this nomination to the Supreme Court."
Walker was joined by Attorney General Brad Schimel, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce CEO Kurt Bauer and Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty president Rick Esenberg at a press conference organized by the conservative Judicial Crisis Network.
People deserve "a court that can reach decisions," Schimel said.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle made the vacancy a key issue in the 2016 campaign. Democrats argued Republicans weren't doing their jobs by blocking hearings, while Republicans argued the seat should be filled by the next president.
"I would hope (Baldwin) would be consistent with what she said last year about Judge Garland, which is that there deserves to be a chance for this nomination to be heard and a vote to be taken, and that's what I'm advocating for today," Walker said.
Walker would not say whether he would support blocking a Trump nominee if a vacancy were to occur at the end of the president's term.
"I’m not here to hypothesize about what’s going to happen in the third year, I’m here to advocate for what’s before us right now," Walker said.
Schimel it was "reasonable" for Republicans to block Garland's nomination in the months leading up to the election, but argued the difference between Obama's nomination and a hypothetical nomination at the end of Trump's term is that Obama was in his second term.
Walker and Baldwin sparred on Twitter earlier this month over her opposition to Gorsuch. Scot Ross, executive director of the liberal group One Wisconsin Now, argued the motive for the press conference was to "attack Tammy Baldwin because they cannot get a credible candidate against her."
Baldwin is seeking re-election for her second term in the the Senate next year. U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy announced last week he will not challenge Baldwin, but several other Republicans are considering it, including businessman Eric Hovde; state Sen. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa; state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield; and Marine veteran Kevin Nicholson.
"I have deep concerns about Judge Gorsuch’s record of ruling against disabled students, against workers, and against women’s reproductive health care. I cannot support a Supreme Court nominee who has ruled that corporations are people. Moreover, I will not support a Supreme Court nominee who has too often favored big business over workers and retirees," Baldwin said in a statement. "I believe Judge Gorsuch needs to earn bipartisan support and 60 votes in Senate, but I will not be one of them."