Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said Monday evening that Republicans have the votes to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the November election.
“We’ve got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s replacement before the election,” the South Carolina Republican said on Fox News regarding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died Friday of pancreatic cancer. “We’re going to move forward in the committee.”
Mr. Graham had said in 2016 to “use my words against me” when he supported delaying the process for Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court in March 2016.
He said Monday that the contentious confirmation process of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh in 2018 changed his thinking.
“After Kavanaugh, everything changed with me. They’re not going to intimidate me, Mitch McConnell or anybody else,” he said.
He also pleaded with the TV audience to contribute to his campaign, saying he’s getting outraised 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 by Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison.
“Five or 10 bucks from half your audience would fill in the gap that I’m facing,” he told host Sean Hannity.
Mr. Trump says he will name a replacement Justice Ginsburg, who died on Friday of pancreatic cancer, on Saturday. Mr. Trump says his preference would be for the Senate to vote on the nomination before Election Day, Nov. 3.
Democrats, as well as GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, say any vote should wait until after the election.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, one of the last potential GOP holdouts, indicated Tuesday he would vote on a candidate’s qualifications if a nomination comes to the floor.
Mr. Romney said election-year precedent dictates that the Senate generally confirms nominees when the same party holds the Senate and the White House.
A number of Republican senators in tough reelection fights, including Cory Gardner of Colorado, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Martha McSally of Arizona, had already indicated they would support moving quickly to fill the vacancy.
The GOP can afford three defections in a chamber where they have a 53-47 majority.
Vice President Mike Pence would be the one who breaks a 50-50 tie.