Washington — Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah indicated Tuesday he supports moving forward with consideration of aduring an election year, providing crucial backing to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as he proceeds with filling the vacancy on the high court just weeks before Election Day.
"The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees," Romney said in a statement. "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."
Romney noted that the historical precedent of nominations made to the Supreme Court during an election year is for the Senate not to confirm the nominee put forth by the opposing party, but to confirm the pick of its own.
"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," he said. "It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent."
Romney's support for proceeding with the confirmation process for a successor to the late, who died Friday, provides McConnell with the backing needed from his party to move to fill the vacant seat swiftly. Just two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have said they are opposed to confirming a new Supreme Court justice before the November 3 election. Four Republicans would need to defect in order to block a nominee.
Mr. Trump said he plans to announce his nominee to the Supreme Court during an event from the White House on Saturday, though the time has not yet been decided.
The president said he is considering five women to replace Ginsburg on the high court, and federal appellate judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa are considered to be leading the pack. Mr. Trump met with Barrett at the White House on Monday, a source close to the president confirmed to CBS News.
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