Kansas Sen. Roberts backs filling Ginsburg vacancy this year

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas declared Monday that he supports replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on U.S. Supreme Court this year.

Roberts tweeted that the Senate has an obligation under the U.S. Constitution to fill high court vacancies. Fellow Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran already has said he supports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plan to move head with consideration of a nominee from President Donald Trump.

Trump said Monday that he plans to nominate a replacement for the late liberal justice by the end of the week. Trump also has said his choice will be a woman.

Many Democrats have argued that the vacancy shouldn't be filled until next year, after the presidential election and next inauguration.

Like other Republicans in 2016, Roberts opposed a vote before the presidential election on Democratic President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the court after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia's death.

But Roberts noted that this year, both the Senate and the White House are controlled by Republicans. He said that in 17 previous cases, nominees were confirmed in an election year when one party controlled both.

“The Senate precedent is clear to support filling this vacancy this year," Roberts tweeted.