Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) signaled Tuesday that he supports moving forward with the Senate vote on President Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during an election year.
“My decision regarding a Supreme Court nomination is not the result of a subjective test of ‘fairness’ which, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent,” Romney said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Accordingly, I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications,” Romney added.
My statement regarding the current Supreme Court vacancy: pic.twitter.com/6YO0dPWWXc— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) September 22, 2020
Speaking to reporters in Capitol Hill, Romney explained his decision, said that he had spoken to numerous of his colleagues from both sides of the aisles before announcing his decision.
“I recognize that we may have a court that has more of a conservative bent than it has had in recent decades,” Romney said. “But, my liberal friends have over many decades gotten very used to the idea of having a liberal court and that’s not written in the stars.”
He added: “It’s also appropriate for a nation that’s if you will center-right to have a court which reflects center-right points of view. Which again are not changing the law from what it states but instead following the law and following the Constitution.”
Regarding on what qualifications he would like to see from Trump nominee, the Utah Senator said he wants someone who is a “strict constructionist” in which they look at the law itself and the Constitution “as opposed to sort of looking into the sky and pulling out ideas that they think may be more appropriate than either the law or the Constitution.”
When asked on his view of federal appellate judge Amy Coney Barrett, Romney said he hasn’t “reviewed her judicial record to this point” and “looks forward to doing so if she’s the nominee.”
Romney declined “to get into the particulars” of whether he would support voting for Ginsburg’s replacement in the lame-duck congressional session between November and January, or if Democratic Presidential nominee Biden wins the presidency.
“I’ve indicated that what I intend to do is to proceed with the consideration process and if a nominee actually reaches the floor, then I will vote based upon the qualifications of that nominee,” he said.
The decision from Romney now gives Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the 51 votes from 53 GOP Senate caucus to hold a confirmation vote on President Trump’s potential nominee before the election.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, both who are in tight race for re-election have come out in opposing the Senate from holding a confirmation vote before Nov. 3rd. All eyes were on Romney as he is one of the few Senate Republicans to oppose Trump and was the only Republican to have deflected and voted to convict Trump on one of the two Articles of impeachment during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year.
McConnell can only afford to lose three Republicans to advance the nomination. If this situation would occur, Vice President Mike Pence would have to step in to cast the tie-breaking vote.
On Monday, Trump said he is considering five women from his potential Supreme Court list to replace Ginsburg on the high court. It is widely reported that Barrett and Judge Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit is considered to be the top two choices the White House is heavily considering.
Trump in a tweet said that he plans to announce his Supreme Court nominee on Saturday during an event from the White House.
The Majority Leader has yet outlines a timetable for taking up Trump’s nominee.