Sen. Mitt Romney announced Tuesday that he would support a floor vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, which might give Senate Republicans the votes they need to confirm a new Supreme Court justice before the November election.
“I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee,” the Utah Republican said in a statement.
“If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications.”
My statement regarding the current Supreme Court vacancy: pic.twitter.com/6YO0dPWWXc
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 22, 2020
Romney added that his decision was not based on a “subjective test of ‘fairness,'” but on the “immutable fairness of following the law.”
“The historical precedent of election year nominations is that the Senate generally doesn’t confirm an opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of its own,” he said.
There has been a history of Supreme Court justice nominations and confirmations during presidential election years, the SCOTUS Blog reported.
The first of the 20th century, according to SCOTUS Blog, came in March 1912, when the Republican Senate approved President William Taft’s nomination of Mahlon Pitney to replace Justice John Marshall Harland, who’d died in October 1911.
President Woodrow Wilson nominated and the Senate confirmed two nominees during the 1916 election year, according to SCOTUS Blog.
A Democratic-controlled Senate confirmed Republican President Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court in 1988.
President Dwight Eisenhower and President Lyndon Johnson were both unable to nominate and confirm a Supreme Court successor during an election year, but thanks to unusual circumstances, neither instance echos the practice of leaving a seat open until after the election, SCOTUS Blog reported.
Although Romney’s support for a vote doesn’t guarantee Trump’s nominee to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will have the votes to be confirmed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has enough votes of his 53-majority to move forward.
Only two Republican senators — Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — have said that the seat shouldn’t be filled until after the election, Politico reported.
Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Chuck Grassley of Iowa are also considered to be potential swing votes, but neither has said he opposes considering a nomination.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham told “Hannity” Monday that Senate Republicans have enough support to confirm a new justice before Nov. 3.
“We’ve got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s replacement before the election,” the South Carolina Republican said.
“We’re going to move forward in the committee, we’re going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election. That’s the constitutional process.”
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