TRUMP’S SUPPORTERS have already landed on a new chant at rallies — “Fill that seat!” His campaign team is selling T-shirts and hats with that slogan and fundraising off of the court. At the exception of three to four U.S. senators, Senate Republicans are poised to move forward with Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Trump promised that he would nominate a woman either Friday or Saturday to replace notions RBG.
SENATE REPUBLICANS lined up behind Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL’S plan to push forward with a vote. Vulnerable Republicans like Sens. THOM TILLIS of North Carolina, JONI ERNST of Iowa, and MARTHA MCSALLY of Arizona quickly backed the strategy of moving swiftly.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (S.C.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and had said he would oppose filling a court vacancy during the last year of an administration, also offered Trump support for “any effort to move forward” to fill Ginsburg’s seat. Sen. TED CRUZ went further on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” The Texas Republican said that “the right thing to do is for the Senate to take up this nomination and to confirm the nominee before Election Day.”
EVEN CENTRISTS like Sen. ROB PORTMAN of Ohio signaled that he would take his cues from the Majority Leader. “Leader McConnell has said that he will hold a vote on any nominee President Trump sends to the Senate, and I intend to fulfill my role as a U.S. Senator and judge that nominee based on his or her merits,” he said in a statement.
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, the Maine Republican, who is in a very tough Senate race, said the Senate Judiciary Committee should start the process of vetting Trump’s pick but, “given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee before the election.” COLLINS has long been viewed as a moderate and independent lawmaker. But her standing changed for many in the wake of BRETT KAVANAUGH nomination when she lined up behind McConnell. And more so after she lined up with TRUMP over impeachment.
Sen. LISA MURKOWSKI of Alaska has also said the vote should take place after the election. Sen. MITT ROMNEY of Utah has not yet weighed in. EVEN IF ALL THREE hold fast against proceeding before the election, it’s unclear who would be the fourth vote Democrats would need to block the nomination from moving forward. MCCONNELL will know in short order where his conference stands. He has a leadership meeting Monday night and then the Tuesday conference lunch.