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BREAKING: Romney Sides With McConnell, GOP Now Likely Has Votes To Confirm RBG Replacement
Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, speaks during a U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Senators questioned Trump administration scientists Tuesday about the availability of coronavirus tests, treatment for those infected and a vaccine, as the number of infections and deaths in the U.S. continues to grow.
Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said Tuesday morning that he supports giving President Donald Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee a floor vote, giving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) enough votes to confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Sen. Mitt Romney said he would support a floor vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court, essentially clinching consideration of Trump’s nominee this year despite the impending election,” POLITICO noted in a breaking news alert Tuesday. “Just two Republican senators have asked for the party to put the brakes on the confirmation. And with a 53-seat majority, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell now has the votes he needs to move forward with a nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

“I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” the Utah Senator, whose thoughts on the matter were kept under wraps all weekend.

Romney added that he believes Trump should be able to confirm a nominee, despite McConnell’s decision to block former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland back in 2016, because of a difference in Congressional control: “historical precedent of election-year nominations is that the Senate generally does not confirm an opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of its own,” Romney said.

His decision, he added, is “not the result of a subjective test of ‘fairness’ which, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent.”

“If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” he concluded.

That brings McConnell’s vote tally to a 51. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) both announced Monday afternoon that they would support President Donald Trump’s nominee, The Daily Wire reported, and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who is retiring after this term, noted that he plans to support McConnell’s plan Monday night.

Only Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) have said they would vote against a Supreme Court nominee brought forward this close to the November election.

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday that he plans to announce his pick to replace the late Justice Ginsburg on Saturday. He met with at least one potential nominee, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge Amy Coney Barrett, at the White House on Monday afternoon.

“Trump has said that he is weighing five candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy, though Judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa, both of whom Trump nominated to the federal appellate bench, are seen as the top contenders,” The Hill added. “Allison Jones Rushing, another federal appeals court judge, is also among those being considered by Trump.”

Related: Amy Coney Barrett Meets With Trump At White House

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