Senate Republicans including Mitt Romney on Tuesday lined up behind President Donald Trump’s push to widen the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority, leaving Democrats little hope of blocking a confirmation vote on a successor to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that could come before the Nov. 3 election, Reuters informed.
Trump said he had “a pretty good idea” of his choice for the seat in an interview on WGN America’s NewsNation program. He told reporters earlier: “We’re getting very close to having a final decision made.”
The President has said he plans to announce his nominee by Saturday and has urged the Senate, where his fellow Republicans hold a 53-47 majority, to vote before the election.
Trump has mentioned two women whom he has appointed as federal appeals court judges as possible nominees: Amy Coney Barrett of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Barbara Lagoa of the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump met with Barrett at the White House on Monday and has said he might meet with Lagoa in Florida later this week.
Romney, a rare Trump critic among Republican senators, said he favored having a vote on Trump’s pick, giving his party enough support to approve the President’s third appointment to the high court.
Ginsburg’s replacement could steer the court in a more conservative direction on abortion, healthcare, gun rights, voting access, presidential powers and other spheres of American life.
Romney, the unsuccessful 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said it would be appropriate for a nation that he described as center-right politically to have a Supreme Court “that reflects center-right points of view.”
Romney and other Republicans have dismissed Democratic arguments that the Senate should wait until after voters decide whether to re-elect Trump or chose Democratic challenger Joe Biden in November. A Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Sunday found that a majority of Americans, including many Republicans, also wanted the election winner to make the nomination.
“I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee,” Romney said.
At a campaign rally in Pittsburgh later on Tuesday, Trump thanked Romney after ridiculing him for voting to convict the President during Trump’s impeachment trial in February.
“But he was very good today, I have to tell you. Now I’m happy. Thank you, Mitt,” Trump said.
Ginsburg, a pioneering advocate of gender equality who served on the court for 27 years, died on Friday at age 87.
Democrats accuse Republican senators of hypocrisy, pointing out that they refused even to consider Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill a vacant Supreme Court seat in 2016 because it was an election year.