U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said Monday he supports filling the Supreme Court seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this year, falling in line with many other Kansas lawmakers.
There had been some speculation that Roberts, who is set to retire at the end of this session, might go in a different direction. But Roberts quashed that Monday in a social media post.
"It is the U.S. Senate’s constitutional duty to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court of the United States, and I support the decision to do so," he said on Twitter, pointing to previous instances in which a Supreme Court justice was confirmed in a presidential election year.
"The Senate precedent is clear to support filling this vacancy this year," he said in a follow-up post.
With the announcement, Roberts falls in line with his counterpart, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, in endorsing the decision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to hold a vote on whomever President Donald Trump taps to fill the vacancy.
Ginsburg died Friday of complications from pancreatic cancer.
McConnell quickly announced the move after Ginsburg’s death, receiving pushback from Democrats and at least two Republicans who believe the next president should decide who should fill the vacancy.
"Americans re-elected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary," McConnell said in a statement. "Once again, we will keep our promise."
Roberts had previously opposed the confirmation of Merrick Garland, nominated in 2016 by President Barack Obama to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia on the high court.
"This is not about the nominee, it is about giving the American people and the next president a role in selecting the next Supreme Court justice," Roberts told The Topeka Capital-Journal at that time.
Moran initially supported holding a confirmation hearing for Garland before reversing course to oppose the nomination.
Trump has said he will likely announce a nominee after a memorial service for Ginsburg has been held, potentially as soon as Friday or Saturday.