GOP leaders contacted individual lawmakers over the weekend after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and likely will decide during a lunch meeting Tuesday on timing for a confirmation vote, according to Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the chamber’s second-ranking Republican.
“Our focus is on trying to determine where our conference is on timing and process,” Thune said on Monday.
Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said on Fox News Monday night that “We’ve got the votes to confirm the judge the justice on the floor of the Senate before the election, and that’s what’s coming.”
Several Republicans on Monday expressed public support for getting Trump’s nominee before the Senate, though most were silent on whether it should be pushed through before the Nov. 3 election.
Putting another conservative on the court is a high priority for most GOP senators and they’ll be in favour of moving quickly, Thune said. “That’s why a lot of them got elected.”
Trump on Monday said he expected to name his choice for the court from as many as five possible candidates by Saturday and he is pushing Senate Republicans to install the new justice before the election.
He’s leaning toward nominating Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge who is a favourite of anti-abortion rights advocates and many GOP senators, according to people familiar with the matter.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reaffirmed Monday his promise to hold a vote this year.
He suggested it could take place by Election Day but didn’t commit a timeline.