Some key recent quotes from Republicans who some think might vote against rushing to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, just yesterday:
“I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election.”
Senator Chuck Grassley in May:
“You can’t have one rule for Democratic presidents and another rule for Republican presidents.”
Senator Susan Collins very recently:
“I think that’s too close, I really do,” when asked about appointing a justice in October.
We can reasonably hope that Murkowski will follow through on this, based on her track record.
Grassley seems unlikely to me. He would be extremely hypocritical if he supported a new nominee, but like his fellow hypocrite, Lindsey Graham, I very much doubt he’ll lose any sleep over just one more bit of hypocrisy for such a huge conservative gain.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you all what Susan Collins’ word is worth. No one int heir right mind could possibly count on her to do the right thing in any instance, especially if she might face political blowback. A Lame duck Collins is no better, surely fearing the loss of lucrative appointments, speaking engagements, and writing jobs if she angers Trump followers too much.
Could Mitt Romney defect on this? Maybe, although it’s not the same as the impeachment issue. It’s not really an ethical issue for him, since he wasn’t in the Senate in 2016, so that bit of hypocrisy wouldn’t concern him. If he doesn’t have a problem with moving quickly, he can argue he would have said the same about Obama’s pick in 2016.
Cory Gardner could also vote against proceeding, conceivably, if he thought enough swing voters in Colorado might not like him going with Mitch McConnell on this. But it’s thin reed, and he’s virtually certain to vote with the party, win or lose, if the vote happens after the election.
If we got three out of Gardner, Romney, Grassley, and Murkowski, we’d still need one more. The key in such a case is massive pressure in Arizona if Martha McSally loses (she is currently trailing in the polls). Her opponent, Mark Kelly, could be seated right away because McSally was a midterm replacement appointment. That means Kelly could vote with Democrats even in this Senate.
But this is a long shot as well, since Arizona Govern Doug Ducey, a Republican, is likely to delay swearing in Kelly, if he wins, as long as he can. And since the race seems to be tight, Republicans would surely delay that swearing in as long as they could so Ducey would not be forced to seat Kelly. In other words, this isn’t a very reliable basket for our eggs.
Still, if three of the four sitting Republicans did join Democrats and Kelly was able to vote instead of McSally, that would mean 51 votes against a new nominee, assuming West Virginia Republican in Democrat’s cloting Joe Manchin doesn’t stab us in the back, though I don’t think even he would break with the party on something like this. But all of that needs to happen in order to stop McConnell’s SCOTUS coup.
Just for the sake of argument fodder for you all to use, here are some quotes from Republicans arguing that Obama should not be able to appoint Merrick Garland to the SCOTUS in 2016, when Antonin Scalia died in FEBRUARY, and they said that was too close to the election.
Senator Lindsey Graham
“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.”
Senator Ted Cruz
“It has been 80 years since a Supreme Court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. There is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year.”
Senator Cory Gardner
“I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.”
Senator Marco Rubio
“I don’t think we should be moving on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term — I would say that if it was a Republican president .”
Senator Rob Portman
“It is common practice for the Senate to stop acting on lifetime appointments during the last year of a presidential term, and it’s been nearly 80 years since any president was permitted to immediately fill a vacancy that arose in a presidential election year.”
It will be an uphill battle for Democrats, there’s no doubt about it. We can all help by getting out there and making it clear that Republicans all over the country will suffer if they go through with this bit of chicanery. I explained that point in my previous post, here.