Sen. Lindsey Graham said enough Republicans in the Senate are prepared to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court before the Nov. 3 election.
The South Carolina Republican, who is chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News host Sean Hannity during a Monday evening interview that whomever President Trump nominates to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at the age of 87 on Friday, will be quickly moved through his committee and confirmed by the GOP-led Senate.
“We’re going to have a process that you’ll be proud of,” Graham said. “The nominee is going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee, and we’ve got the votes to confirm the justice on the floor of the Senate before the election. And that’s what’s coming.”
The president said he will be nominating a woman to replace Ginsburg later this week, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will bring a nominee picked by Trump to the floor for a vote. Federal judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa are said to be top contenders.
Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, have demanded Trump to wait until there is a winner in the November election. Some have even suggested that if Republicans push through a nominee and the Democrats take control of Congress in November, they will vote to expand the Supreme Court.
Graham, in particular, is facing fierce backlash by critics who have pointed to his past comments about not voting to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in the run-up to a presidential election.
The senator, who is facing a tight reelection battle against well-funded Democrat Jaime Harrison, released a statement saying that “the rules have changed as far as I’m concerned,” following the contentious Supreme Court confirmation fight over Brett Kavanaugh two years ago.
Republicans hold a narrow margin in the upper chamber, with only 53 of the Senate’s 100 votes, but only need a simple majority to push through a nominee, thanks to the GOP-controlled Senate abolishing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in 2017. Depending on the result of a Senate special election in Arizona, the margin could get even thinner between Election Day and the inauguration in January. Vice President Mike Pence can also vote in the event of a tie.
Two GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, said the upper chamber should wait until at least the November election to vote on filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court.
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