- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sen. Jeff Flake won’t hold up confirmation hearings for President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, according to a local Arizona news report.

The Republican senator told the Arizona Republic that the Supreme Court vacancy is “unaffected” by his pledge to block Mr. Trump’s judicial nominees.

“My goal here is not to block judges. My goal is to get a vote on tariffs, and I have all the leverage I need with circuit court nominees,” he said, “I have all the leverage I need. I certainly wasn’t anticipating a Supreme Court vacancy, but it’s unaffected.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Flake confirmed with CNN that he would end his embargo on Trump’s lower court nominations if Congress votes on legislation to restrict the president’s ability to impose tariffs.

The Arizona senator said he would be looking for a nominee in the same vein as Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal specifically named Mr. Flake as a potential ally for Democrats fighting against the president’s pick during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”  

Mr. Flake, an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, has pushed back against the president’s decision to place tariffs on China and the European Union.

In a Senate floor speech on June 7, Mr. Flake warned trade allies will leave the U.S. behind if Mr. Trump continues his “muddled and mercurial” leadership.

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