Speaking with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Cruz said the integrity of the election depends on the court having nine justices, especially considering the enhanced likelihood of a legally contested contest this year.
“I think it is tremendously important that not only does the nomination happen next week but that the confirmation before Election Day,” Cruz explained. “Democrats and Joe Biden have made clear, they intend to challenge this election, they intend to fight the legitimacy of the election. As you know, Hillary Clinton has told Joe Biden ‘under no circumstances should you concede. You should challenge this election.'”
“We cannot have Election Day come and go with a 4-4 court,” Cruz said.
If the seat is not filled prior to Election Day, America risks a “constitutional crisis,” the Texas senator went on to say.
“A 4-4 court that is equally divided cannot decide anything. And I think we risk a constitutional crisis if we do not have a nine justice Supreme Court, particularly when there’s such a risk of a contested litigation and a contested election,” Cruz explained.
“Twenty years ago, I was part of the legal team that litigated Bush v. Gore and went to the Supreme Court. Thirty-seven days the country did not know who the president was going to be, and if we had a 4-4 court it could have dragged on for weeks and months,” he continued.
“So, I think we have a responsibility — a responsibility to do our job,” Cruz said. “The president should nominate a principled constitutionalist with a proven record, and the Senate is going to take a lot of work to get it done before Election Day but I think we should do our job and protect the country from the constitutional crisis that could result otherwise.”
Earlier in his interview, Cruz said, “This nomination is why Donald Trump was elected. This confirmation is why the voters voted for a Republican majority in the Senate.”
It’s not yet clear who President Donald Trump will nominate to fill the high court vacancy.