U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has waffled on whether she would confirm a U.S. Supreme Court nominee chosen by President Donald Trump before the November election. Whatever decision she ultimately decides on likely won’t matter now that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is on board to vote on a Trump pick.
The issue has taken center stage in national politics after the Sept. 18 death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the most pro-abortion justices to ever sit on the high court. Murkowski praised Ginsburg on Sept. 18 as a “true leader and pioneer,” adding that she was a “champion and crusader for equal justice and civil liberties.”
With a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, Republicans have little room for defectors.
Democrats and abortion rights groups are now pressuring liberal leaning, pro-abortion Republican senators like Murkowski to hold off on filling Ginsburg’s seat until after the election. Their hope is that Joe Biden will win the presidency and appoint another liberal, pro-abortion justice to the nation’s highest court.
With a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, Republicans have little room for defectors. Both Murkowski and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) initially said they would not vote to confirm a judge until after the election, although Murkowski then suggested on Sept. 22 that she may be open to voting on a nominee after all.
There were questions whether Romney, who has a contentious relationship with Trump, would would refuse to vote on a presidential nominee. On Sept. 21, however, he confirmed that he wants to vote ahead of the presidential election. If all other Republicans vote to confirm a nominee, that would give them the needed votes to seat a new judge.
“My decision regarding a Supreme Court nomination is not the result of a subjective test of ‘fairness’ which, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder,” Romney said in a Sept. 21 statement. “It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent. 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.”
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Romney added: “The Constitution gives the president the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Accordingly, 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.”
Trump is expected to nominate a conservative as Ginsburg’s replacement on Friday or Saturday this week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold a vote as quickly as possible.
Click here to urge Murkowski to vote on Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.