According to a report by the Washington Examiner, it looks like Republicans may have the votes necessary to confirm whomever Trump nominates for the Supreme Court:
Senate Republicans said Monday they are ready to vote on a Supreme Court nominee, despite the election-year timing and the objections of Democrats, and they appear to have the votes to do it.
“I think the vast majority of our conference is going to be OK with whatever the speed with which we move is,” Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, told the Washington Examiner.
A Monday evening statement by Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, appears to give Republicans at least 50 votes in favor of moving and eventually confirming a nominee, with Vice President Mike Pence able to break a tie if needed.
So far, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski are the only two GOP senators signaling they’ll oppose consideration of any nominee this year.
Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican who frequently clashes with President Trump, told reporters in the Capitol Monday night he would wait to make a decision and planned to confer with fellow Republicans at a critical, closed-door GOP conference meeting on Tuesday.
What do you think Romney will do?
Republicans control 53 votes, and even if Romney opposes taking up a nominee, Pence could cast the deciding vote.
Murkowski and Collins base their current objection on the GOP’s decision in 2016 to block consideration of Merrick Garland, who was President Barack Obama’s pick to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia. At the time, McConnell cited the upcoming election as the reason for punting on Garland.
Collins is running in a highly contested race for a fifth term, and recent polls show her trailing Democratic competitor Sara Gideon.
With Gardner having announced he’s supporting the nominee, it looks likely that Mike Pence will be the deciding vote. I think it’s unlikely Manchin will go against his party since he just got re-elected last year. Either way this is great news and hopefully it sticks.
UPDATE: Graham also says they have the votes:
Graham on Fox:
“We’ve got the votes to confirm the … justice on the floor of the Senate before the election and that’s what is coming”
— Jordain Carney (@jordainc) September 22, 2020