As much as Democratic Party leaders might complain, they seem increasingly unable to do anything substantial in their effort to prevent a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate from confirming President Donald Trump’s forthcoming Supreme Court nomination.
Despite objections by a couple of GOP senators, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has affirmed that a confirmation vote will take place in the near term — and he appears to have enough votes to fill the vacancy created by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
Only two holdouts
President Donald Trump is expected to name his pick on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. From there, it appears to be a matter of when, not if, his nominee will be confirmed in the Senate.
McConnell can afford to lose three votes within his party, leaving the Senate in a 50–50 split, to still ultimately approve Trump’s nominee. In such a scenario, Vice President Mike Pence would break the tie, presumably in favor of the candidate.
Thus far, just two — Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — have signaled opposition to holding a vote prior to November’s election.
Early hopes among some Democrats that the number of GOP defections could grow were dimmed on Monday when moderate Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said he would support a vote.
The following day, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a frequent Trump critic, added his name to the list of Republicans on the record in favor of voting on Trump’s nominee.
“I think it’s going to happen”
As for whether the vote will be held before Election Day or during the lame-duck session that follows, such a timeline remains to be seen. Republican senators are already weighing in with their opinions, though.
“I suspect you’ll have folks within my caucus who would then become less comfortable, depending on the outcome,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) explained, according to the Washington Examiner. “It introduces a whole new set of considerations. I think it should ideally come before Election Day.”
In any case, Republicans seem to have consolidated support for an expeditious vote, according to the Associated Press. Trump has indicated that his nominee would be a woman and met with 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, considered a top contender, at the White House on Monday.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told the Examiner that holding such a vote is “our job” as senators, adding that he is not aware of “any constitutional mandate you shouldn’t let a president appoint someone and approve them.”
What ultimately matters is whether McConnell and Trump can rally the votes needed to confirm Ginsburg’s replacement. As the president recently said: “I think it’s going to happen.”