On Monday afternoon, two GOP senators whom Democrats were hoping would break with the Senate GOP and reject supporting President Trump nominating a judge to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death issued statements in which they sided with the GOP, making it much more likely that a Trump nominee would be confirmed.
Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News reported of Iowa GOP senator Charles Grassley, “Grassley will push forward with filling the US Supreme Court vacancy. ‘…make no mistake: if the shoe were on the other foot, Senate Democrats wouldn’t hesitate to use their Constitutional authority and anything else at their disposal to fill this seat,’ he says in a statement.”
Grassley will push forward with filling the US Supreme Court vacancy. "…make no mistake: if the shoe were on the other foot, Senate Democrats wouldn’t hesitate to use their Constitutional authority and anything else at their disposal to fill this seat," he says in a statement.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 21, 2020
Roughly 40 minutes later, Andrew Desiderio of Politico released news of Colorado GOP Senator Cory Gardner: “BREAKING: McConnell locks in Sen. Cory Gardner ‘I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.’”
BREAKING: McConnell locks in Sen. Cory Gardner
“I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law. Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.”
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) September 21, 2020
The GOP currently has 53 members of the Senate, which means they could afford to lose three votes and still gain a tie vote over a nomination; tie votes in the Senate are broken by the Vice-President of the United States. Two GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have already indicated they would not stand with the GOP if Trump nominated someone for the Supreme Court vacancy and would not support taking up a vote before Election Day.
Murkowski stated on Sunday, “For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed. I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia. We are now even closer to the 2020 election — less than two months out — and I believe the same standard must apply.”
Collins said in a statement Saturday: “In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”
Politico reported on Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had stated long ago he would favor filling a vacancy on the court if that eventuated before Election Day, was assiduously locking down GOP votes already:
McConnell (R-Ky.) won the support of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who is retiring and was viewed as a potential swing vote as McConnell seeks to confirm Ginsburg‘s replacement as soon as possible. … Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of McConnell’s leadership team, also backed the majority leader over the weekend, as did Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a moderate.
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