Senator Mitt Romney (R., Utah) said Tuesday he would support holding a vote to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the November election, saying he intends to “follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President’s nominee.”
“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,” Romney said in a statement. “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.”
He 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.”
Speaking to reporters shortly after releasing his statement, Romney said he would look for someone who is “an expert in the law, someone who has a record of fairness and judgment.” He added that he would prefer to see a strict constructionist appointed to the Court.
“I recognize that we may have a Court which has more of a conservative bent than it has had over the last few decades, but my liberal friends have over many decades gotten very used to the idea of having a liberal court and that’s not written in the stars,” Romney said.
He added that he believes it is “appropriate” for a “center-right” country to have a Court which reflects center-right points of view and follows the law and the Constitution.
All eyes have been on Romney in recent days as Republicans look to confirm a new Supreme Court justice ahead of the November election.
With 53 Republican Senators, the GOP can only afford to lose three votes to advance the nomination, if Vice President Mike Pence were to step in and cast a tie-breaking vote. Only Senators Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) and Susan Collins (R., Maine) have signaled an unwillingness to support a Trump nominee for the Court ahead of the election, so far all but clearing the way for the nomination to go forward.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that President Trump’s nominee for a vacancy will receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. President Trump has said he will name a nominee on Saturday.