Around New England

Mitt Romney Open To Voting In A New Supreme Court Justice This Year

September 22, 2020

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney says he would vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice this year — as long as he approves of the justice.

The announcement means Republicans may have 51 votes to confirm a nominee regardless of what happens in the November 3 presidential election. That’s one more than they need, because Vice President Mike Pence can break a tie in favor of the yet-to-be-named nominee.

Senator Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who is now a Republican senator representing Utah, said there should be a vote on a justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died of pancreatic cancer last week.

“The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees,” Romney said in a written statement on Tuesday morning. “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.”

Some of arguments for and against moving forward on a Trump nomination to the court this close to the presidential election have centered on what the U.S. Senate has done in the past.

Romney put it this way:  “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 thought to be a possible Republican defector when it comes to voting in a new Supreme Court justice, alongside Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who have not endorsed President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. However, unlike Murkowski and Collins, Romney is pro-life, although he was not as governor of Massachusetts. Romney has also spoken publicly in favor of appointing judges who interpret the constitution and the law instead of issuing rulings based more on their personal beliefs than what the law says.

If President Trump nominates a justice and the Senate confirms the pick, then six of the nine justices on the court will have been appointed by Republicans.