Senate Republicans appeared to have enough votes to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court when Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) stated he was in favor of holding a vote prior to the end of the president’s first term.
Now, one of the two GOP senators to oppose such a vote — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — is backtracking, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
“Everybody wants to ask the question”
A short time after Ginsburg’s death last week, Murkowski suggested that she would not vote on a nominee in the short term because she believed the winner of the upcoming presidential election should make the choice.
Days later, however, she made a statement seemingly at odds with that earlier stance.
“I know everybody wants to ask the question, ‘Will you confirm the nominee?'” she said on Tuesday. “We don’t have a nominee yet.”
Acknowledging that no one yet knows which candidate the president will name in an announcement set for Saturday, Murkowski said that she “can’t confirm whether or not” she would favor confirmation. Nevertheless, she made it clear that she is still opposed to the schedule being pursued by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“I do not support this process moving forward,” she said. “Now, having said that, this process is moving forward with or without me.”
“I’m going to have a look at that”
Notably, she did not affirm that any vote she might cast would be in favor of the nominee. Romney and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) similarly phrased their statements to avoid such a commitment.
“If I had felt that there was a rush to move this through because you’re up against a deadline that is hard and fast, like an election, and that a nominee had not been thoroughly and fairly evaluated through our process, then I’m going to have to look at that,” Murkowski said.
As for Trump, he said his pick would be a female and signaled a desire to wait until Ginsburg’s funeral services to announce his selection. McConnell indicated that he is prepared to fast-track a vote on the nominee’s confirmation.
The most recent timeline appears to include a series of hearings beginning mid-October, followed by a confirmation vote.
Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett is said to be the frontrunner among the nominees under consideration by the Trump administration. The president met with her at the White House on Monday. While that detail remains to be addressed, all other signs point to a relatively easy confirmation despite the efforts of a vocally opposed Democratic Party.