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Sen. Mitt Romney says he will not block a vote on SCOTUS nominee

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Senator Mitt Romney says he won’t block a vote on President Trump’s nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. 

On Tuesday, the president said he would announce who he has chosen to fill the vacant seat on the nation’s highest court on Saturday at the White House. 

Currently, Republicans hold the majority in the US Senate with 53 seats to the Democrats’ 45 seats, and as such it would take just four GOP Senators to halt a confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Both Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have said they oppose a vote before elections.

Sen. Mitt Romney says he will not hold up a vote on the nominee

Utah Senator Mitt Romney says he will consider President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court if and when it reaches the Senate floor.

“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. 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 said in a statement.

“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.”

 

“My statement speaks for itself,” Romney told Utah reporters on Tuesday.

“I do realize that a lot of the angst and energy that’s surrounding the current nomination process is related to the fact that liberals have enjoyed a liberal-leaning court for decades and are very upset at the prospect that the court could take a more conservative attack.

“I understand that but I don’t concur with it. I’m a conservative and hope that we do have a court that holds to the law and the Constitution rather than a different course,” he continued.

When asked about if this is a hypocritical stance to take after the Senate refused to give their consent on Merrick Garland’s appointment in 2016 the Utah Senator said he doesn’t believe it is.

“The decision with regards to the Judge Garland nomination was consistent with the fact that in history a Senate has in some cases denied confirmation, in other cases approved confirmation, of a nominee in an election year when that nominee came from the opposition party. So the Garland decision was consistent with precedent and history.

“Whether or not that was a decision you agree with is a different matter. I wasn’t there and will not provide an opinion about whether it was a good decision or a bad one. But it certainly was consistent with precedent and was not a new precedent,” he said. 

Sen. Mike Lee weighs in

Romney’s statement is echoed by fellow Utah Senator Mike Lee who said the role of the Senate in filling a vacant Supreme Court seat is to provide their advice and consent.

“In 2016, President Obama nominated a replacement for Justice Scalia and my Senate colleagues and I gave our advice and consent on the nominee, consistent with the Constitution, by rejecting him,” Lee said in a statement.

“This year, President Trump will nominate a replacement for Justice Ginsburg and, consistent with the Constitution, we will again give our advice and consent. If we like the nominee, we will confirm her. If we don’t, we won’t. It’s that simple.”