Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah has announced he will not block a floor vote for Donald Trump’s nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court before the upcoming presidential election.
Romney issued a statement Tuesday that he intends “to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee, and if the nominee reaches the Senate floor he intends “to vote based upon their qualifications.”
Romney’s support for moving ahead means that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is all but certain to have the 51 votes he needs to take up the nomination. Just two GOP senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have said they oppose taking up the president’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a presidential election year.
Romney, the party’s 2012 nominee for president, has been one of the few Republicans in the Senate to oppose Trump. In his statement, he asserted that the “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.”
“If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” concludes Romney’s statement.
In 2016, nearly nine months before the presidential election, Senate Republicans refused to vote on President Obama’s nominee for the high court, Merrick Garland, claiming it was “too close to the election.” At the time, nothing was mentioned about ‘opposing party’ nominees.
Trump has tweeted that he will announce his nominee to replace Ginsburg on Saturday.
We are now just 42 days before the 2020 election day.
I hope whatever you received for your soul was worth it.
According to NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dictated this message to her granddaughter Clara Spera just days before her passing: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
This morning, Donald Trump phoned into Fox & Friends, and with no evidence of any kind, alleged that Ginsburg’s dying wish was written by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), or Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi?” said Trump. “I would be more inclined to the second. That came out of the wind, it sounds so beautiful. But that sounds like a Schumer deal, or maybe a Pelosi, or shifty Schiff. So that came out of the wind.”
Schiff clapped back in a tweet: “Mr. President, this is low. Even for you. No, I didn’t write Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union. But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true. No confirmation before inauguration.”
Mr. President, this is low. Even for you.
No, I didn’t write Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union.
But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true.
I’m sure it won’t upset Ginsburg’s grieving family at all that her dying wish as dictated to her granddaughter is now being called a Democratic hoax by the president of the United States. https://t.co/YsfSpXgRJL
To call Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish that her seat not be filled until after the election a Democratic hoax is abhorrent. There is no other way to say this, the President of the United States is an evil prick.
Supreme Court’s Public Information Officer says Ginsburg family member gave the statement to NPR, dictated to granddaughter Clara Spera: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." ⁰https://t.co/SeqnNqS4tVhttps://t.co/DJBag4Yx1j
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• Edge Media: A gay couple in New York recalls the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiating their wedding.
• New York Times: Democratic donors gave more money online in the 9 p.m. hour Friday after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death was announced — $6.2 million — than in any other single hour since ActBlue, the donation-processing site, was started 16 years ago. Then donors broke the site’s record again in the 10 p.m. hour when donors gave another $6.3 million — more than $100,000 per minute.
• The Nation: Last week, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whistleblower told the press that agency officials had ordered him to downplay the threat of white supremacist terrorism. A recent DHS intelligence assessment about physical threats to the 2020 election season identifies “white supremacist extremists” as the foremost threat to the democratic process this year.
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Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) issued a statement on Sunday announcing she publicly opposes voting to confirm a new Supreme Court nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the November election.
“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed.”
Murkowski joins Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, facing a tough re-election battle, in opposing taking up President Donald Trump’s forthcoming nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg died Friday at 87 from complications from pancreatic cancer.
“I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice [Antonin] Scalia,” she continued. “We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply.”
Donald Trump has already announced he will nominate a new justice in the next few days, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
McConnell can afford to lose three Republican votes and still confirm a Trump nominee, but four ‘no’ votes would force him to wait until a lame-duck session after the election.
In a statement dictated to her granddaughter days before her death, Ginsburg said: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Of course some combination of Mitt Romney, Chuck Grassley, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander could quickly end this Banana Republic bullshit… #JustSaying
In the aftermath of the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has issued a statement saying the Senate should not vote on a new SCOTUS justice before the upcoming presidential election.
“In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently – no matter which political party is in power.
“President Trump has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and I would have no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election.
“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 the Supreme Court should be made by the president who is elected on November 3rd.”
Breaking: Maine Senator Susan Collins became the first Republican to break ranks with GOP leadership and President Donald Trump to say the next Supreme Court nominee should be selected by whoever is elected president on Nov. 3.https://t.co/7gvRULawjQ
One thing that’s not addressed in @SenatorCollins‘s statement is how she would vote if McConnell does hold a vote despite her opposition to holding one. Theoretically she could not vote at all and deny the nominee needed support without opposing him/her. https://t.co/sZUBeZgSnE
And of course she's left herself a lot of wiggle room. She could have said "I will vote no on any vote before the election, and on any vote held during the lame duck in the event of a Trump loss." She didn't. But the statement reflects the bind she's in with the voters of Maine.
On the day after the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, it’s interesting to revisit the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) from just a few years ago:
“This is the last year of a lame-duck, and if Ted Cruz or Donald Trump get to be president, they’ve all asked us not to confirm or take up a selection by President Obama. So if a vacancy occurs in their last year, of their first term, guess what, you will use their words against them. You will use their words against them.
“I want you to use my words against me. If there is a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said ‘let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”
The Washington Post reports that in 2018, when Graham was in line to take over the committee with jurisdiction over Supreme Court nominees, he said that ‘if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait till the next election.’”
Graham is in a tight race for reelection himself this year – the most recent polls show him tied with his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison. How will his state react if he supports a vote on RGB’s replacement before the election?
LINDSEY GRAHAM on March 10, 2016:
“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination." pic.twitter.com/DYXou0KEI8
Two other Republican Senators have signaled opposition to confirming a new justice so close to an election.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told The Hill in August of this year: “When Republicans held off Merrick Garland it was because nine months prior to the election was too close, we needed to let people decide. And I agreed to do that. If we now say that months prior to the election is okay when nine months was not, that is a double standard and I don’t believe we should do it. So I would not support it.”
And Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), also in a tough reelection campaign, told the New York Times‘ Jonathan Martin earlier this month, she would not seat a Supreme Court justice in October.
“I think that’s too close, I really do,” she said. She added she’d also oppose seating a justice in the lame-duck session if there’s a change in presidents.
News: @SenatorCollins told me earlier this month in Maine that she would not seat a Supreme Court justice in October.
“I think that’s too close, I really do,” she said.
She said she’d also oppose seating a justice in the lame duck if there’s a change in presidents.
Architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation’s highest court, becoming its most prominent member.
Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign.
Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Sadly, Ginsburg’s passing gives Republicans a chance to possibly solidify the conservative-leaning of the high court to a 6-3 majority.
In 2016, with nearly a year left in President Obama’s time in office, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick B. Garland.
Hours after Antonin Scalia died in February of 2016, McConnell said, “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
Democrats in the Senate, which votes to approve SCOTUS nominees, have almost no power to stop a simple majority vote on Ginsburg’s replacement.