The Democrats are in disbelief after Republicans managed to secure the votes necessary to confirm President Trump’s SCOTUS pick when it comes time for the Senate vote.
This comes after fervent anti-Trump Republican Senator Mitt Romney – who voted for the impeachment of the president earlier this year – announced on Tuesday that he supported moving forward with a Supreme Court nominee put forth by Trump.
“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,” Romney said in a statement. “It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent. The historical precedent of election year nominations is that the Senate generally does not confirm an opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of its own.”
Romney was largely written off by Republicans after betraying President Trump during the impeachment votes, which led Democrats to believe that the Senator would side with them again on this issue.
Romney continued, “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 expanded on his decision while speaking to press later on Tuesday.
“We may have a court that has a more conservative bent [than it has had in recent decades], “But my liberal friends have over many decades gotten 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.”
Romney further said that the timing of a vote on a Trump nominee would not influence his decision-making.
The Senate only needs a simple majority to confirm Trump’s nominee, and with a 53-47 Republican controlled Senate, the odds are the nomination will pass.
Republicans can lose up to three votes and still be able to confirm a Trump nominee with Vice President Mike Pence as the tiebreaker. As of now only two Republicans have said they oppose moving ahead with a nomination: Sen. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Sen. Susan Collins from Maine.
President Trump is expected to announce his pick for the Supreme Court seat on Saturday at the White House after tweeting out on Tuesday that he would do so. The president added, “Exact time TBA.”
It will then be up to Senate Republicans to push the nomination through and they will reportedly aim to accomplish that by the end of October according to an anonymous Senate aide who spoke to The Associated Press.
The aide also said the Senate Judiciary Committee could begin confirmation hearings as soon as Oct. 12 with the Senate floor vote coming as soon as Oct. 29.