Republican senators “are coalescing behind” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, reports The Hill.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell promised in a statement after Ginsburg’s death.
Both vulnerable and retiring Republicans have rallied to the cause, including establishment Republican Lamar Alexander, who is retiring.
“No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year,” Alexander said in a statement. “Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot.”
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“I intend to fulfill my role as a U.S. Senator and judge that nominee based on his or her merits,” said Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Senator Roy Blunt of Montana said there was “plenty of time” for Republicans to confirm a nominee.
“I’m for whatever gives us the best opportunity to confirm a conservative to the court while giving us the best chance of keeping the Senate and White House,” Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) told The Hill.
So far, only two GOP senators have come out against filling the vacancy before the election or inauguration, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Collins is facing a tough reelection battle in her increasingly blue home state.
Senator Mitt Romney has not made a statement on the matter of filling the vacancy. Despite representing one of the reddest states in the country, Romney has been a vocal critic of Trump and voted to convict President Trump on one of the articles of impeachment earlier this year.
Trump could still afford to lose Romney’s support for filling the vacancy and be able to get a 50-50 vote with Vice President Pence breaking the tie.
Still, other Republicans have come out in support of proceeding with a nomination, giving Democrats little reason to feel hopeful they can stop Trump’s third pick for the Supreme Court.