| USA TODAY
RBG: Who are the frontrunners to replace her now?
Here’s President Trump’s shortlist of women that will most likely replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
WASHINGTON — Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, announced Tuesday he would back a Senate vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, signaling Republicans may have enough support to vote on Trump’s pick before the November presidential election.
“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, citing historical precedent on Supreme Court nominees. “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.”
Republican leaders have not presented a timeline yet for holding a vote to fill the vacancy, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday on the Senate floor there was clear precedent for the Senate to hold a vote on a nominee “this year.”
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the second-ranking Senate Republican, told Capitol Hill reporters Tuesday “it would be a good idea for us to move forward” on a vote before the Nov. 3 election, though the timing was ultimately up to McConnell.
More: Gardner supports moving forward on Ginsburg seat, striking blow to Dem chances of halting nomination
Romney told reporters on Capitol Hill later Tuesday “my liberal friends have over many decades gotten very used to the idea of having a liberal court. And that’s not written in the stars.”
He said he would leave the timing of a nomination and the vote up to Republican leaders in the Senate.
Romney, a moderate Republican senator who has criticized Trump, was seen as a potential swing vote on the nomination.
Democrats have heavily criticized Republicans for pushing forward on a vote to confirm a new Supreme Court nominee after they blocked President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016, citing the proximity to a presidential election.
More: Then and now: What McConnell, others said about Merrick Garland in 2016 vs. after Ginsburg’s death
Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning they could only lose four votes on a nomination if all Democrats voted against it. Only two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have said they opposed moving forward to fill the vacancy before the election, meaning Republicans likely have the votes to move forward on the nomination.
More: Front-runner for Supreme Court nomination to replace Ginsburg is a favorite of religious conservatives
Trump tweeted Tuesday morning to say he would announce the nominee on Saturday, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chair of the Senate panel presiding over judicial nominees, said Monday on Fox News that Republicans had the votes to fill the seat before the election.
Opinion polling conducted over the weekend shows a majority of likely voters said Trump should not be able to fill the Supreme Court vacancy if he loses the election in November.
According to a CNBC and Change Research poll, a little over half, or 52%, of likely voters in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin said Trump should not be able to fill the seat if he lost, and 57% of likely voters nationally held the same opinion.