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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that a vote on President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court would be held in the Senate and one key lawmaker just backed him up.
McConnell secured a key swing vote in the upcoming Senate confirmation hearing of Trump’s nominee to fill the seat of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on Friday. Sen. Lamar Alexander agreed that the president should move forward with his nomination and said he is ready to vote ahead of November’s election.
The Tennessee Republican addressed calls from Democrats urging a postponement of the process until after the election, saying Sunday that “no one should be surprised” by the Senate’s move to vote during a presidential election year, and that Democrats would do the same if they had control of the White House and Senate.
“No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year,” Alexander, who is retiring at the end of his current term, said in a statement.
“The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it,” he added.
“Going back to George Washington, the Senate has confirmed many nominees to the Supreme Court during a presidential election year. It has refused to confirm several when the President and Senate majority were of different parties,” Alexander continued.
“Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot,” the Texas lawmaker pointed out.
“I have voted to confirm Justices Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh based upon their intelligence, character and temperament. I will apply the same standard when I consider President Trump’s nomination to replace Justice Ginsburg,” Alexander said.
My statement concerning President @realDonaldTrump’s intent to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy following the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and @senatemajldr Mitch McConnell’s announcement that the Senate will vote on that nomination. pic.twitter.com/ktGGXYdSC8
— Sen. Lamar Alexander (@SenAlexander) September 20, 2020
His statement comes as Democrats have slammed McConnell and Republicans, accusing them of “hypocrisy” since, nine months before the 2016 presidential election, the majority leader blocked the confirmation vote for former President Obama’s nominee at the time, Merrick Garland.
Democratic nominee and former vice president Joe Biden in a speech on Sunday called on Republicans, who currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, to “please follow your conscience” and not rush a vote before November.
“If I win this election, President Trump’s nominee should be withdrawn and, as the new president, I should be the one to nominate Justice Ginsburg’s successor,” Biden said in Philadelphia.
“I’m not being naive. I’m not speaking to President Trump, who will do whatever he wants,” he added. “I’m not speaking to Mitch McConnell, who will do what he wants — and he does. I’m speaking to those … Senate Republicans who know deep down what is right for the country, and what is consistent with the Constitution.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared during an ABC News interview on Sunday that Democrats will not hesitate to “use every arrow in our quiver,” appearing to not rule out impeaching Trump a second time. And Sen. Richard Blumenthal tweeted that “nothing is off the table” if Republicans move forward with the confirmation process.
Pelosi suggests House could impeach Trump, Barr to stop SCOTUS nomination: ‘We have options’ https://t.co/gQZ2i9GeWp
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 20, 2020
The Senate will most likely move ahead on the confirmation of Thump’s nominee, as McConnell noted after Ginsburg’s death that the president’s choice “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Democrats will need four Republican senators to help them block a Trump nominee, by either voting against or abstaining. Currently, only GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have spoken publicly about their view that the Senate should wait until after November.
The president has urged Republicans to move ahead “without delay,” citing the obligation to voters who elected him.
.@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2020
“I will be putting forth a nominee this week, it will be a woman,” Trump said at a campaign rally in North Carolina over the weekend.
He added that the nominee will be a very “very talented, very brilliant woman” because “I like women more than I like men.”