McConnell Secures 50th Vote As Romney Announces He Will Support Trump’s Nominee

Republican Senator Mitt Romney has announced that he will vote for whoever President Trump nominates for the Supreme Court, giving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell the 50th vote he needs to confirm the eventual nominee.

In a written statement and then again during an interview with a group of reporters, Romney defended his decision as “following… the Constitution and precedent.”

The Utah Republican also said he was not in the 2016 Merrick Garland nomination process so he did not factor the incident into his decision.

“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 & precedent,” he said.

Romney added: “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.”

Politico reports:

Just two Republican senators have asked for the party to put the brakes on the confirmation. And with a 53-seat majority, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) now has the votes he needs to move forward with a nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Though Romney’s position doesn’t mean Trump’s yet-to-be-named nominee will definitely have the votes to be confirmed, it does mean that McConnell and Trump can move forward without delay.

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The Hill adds: “McConnell has essentially locked down support within his 53-member caucus to move a Supreme Court nominee this year, laying the groundwork for an explosive fight that critics warn could lead to an overhaul of the Senate. McConnell has not said if he will try to move a nomination before or after the election.”

Shortly after Romney’s announcement, Republican Senator John Thune also said that he would vote on Trump’s nominee.

According to the report, other potential swing votes on the nominee include Republican Senators Cory Gardner, Chuck Grassley, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins.

The latter two said they do not believe a confirmation vote should be held in an election year.

Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham declared that Republicans indeed have the votes to confirm the nominee: “I’ve seen this move before. It’s not going to work. … We’ve got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s replacement before the election.”

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