Republicans Lining Up Party Support Behind Quick SCOTUS Confirmation Hearing

( Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been hard at work consolidating support for a quick confirmation process for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

On Monday, Iowa Senator Charles Grassley expressed his support for the Senate taking up confirmation hearings before the presidential election in November. Democrats were hoping that Grassley might side with them and say he preferred to wait until the next president and Congress was installed before proceeding with the hearings.

In a statement, Grassley said on Monday:

“While there was ambiguity about the American people’s will for the direction of the Supreme Court in 2016 under a divided government, there is no such ambiguity in 2020.

“So, make no mistake: if the shoe were on the other foot, Senate Democrats wouldn’t hesitate to use their Constitutional authority and anything else at their disposal to fill this seat.”

Another potential target for Democrats, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, wouldn’t answer questions from reports about where he stands on the issue. However, Gardner, who is currently in a hotly-contested re-election battle in his home state, said it was the Republican Senate’s decision to make.

In a statement, Gardner said:

“When a President exercises constitutional authority to nominate a judge for the Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate must decide how to best fulfill its constitutional duty of advice and consent.”

Utah Senator Mitt Romney could be a potential swing vote for the Democrats. Romney was the only Republican senator who voted to convict Trump on impeachment charges earlier in 2020.

For now, Romney has said he won’t be announcing his intentions just yet. A spokeswoman for the senator said he wants to talk with his colleagues in the Republican Party during his weekly lunch on Tuesday before he makes a final decision.

Republicans can afford to lose three party members to the Democrats in the battle and still proceed with the confirmation of Trump’s nominee. There are two thus far who have come out and said they wouldn’t support a confirmation vote before the November 3 presidential election. They are Maine Senator Susan Collins and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.

But, those two may be the only senators who break with party ranks.

Potential targets for the Democrats include Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito. They are both likely longshots to cross the aisle, though.

Trump said he will announce by Saturday at the latest his pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away last Friday. The president has said he would also like his nominee to be confirmed by the early November election.

Historically, the confirmation process takes 70 days on average, the Congressional Research Service has said. Some hearings, such as that for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, have taken even longer.

In a floor speech on Monday, McConnell attacked Democrats who are already working to stop the confirmation vote. He said:

“Now, already, some of the same individuals who tried every conceivable dirty trick to obstruct Justice (Neil) Gorsuch and Justice (Brett) Kavanaugh are lining up, lining up to declare the third time will be the charm.”