The Slatest

Mitt Romney Supports Voting on Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee, Too

Romney holds his mask away from his face as he bends down to speak to reporters holding up their cellphones.
Sen. Mitt Romney speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Monday. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who just about seven months ago was voting to remove President Donald Trump from office for trying to extort the country of Ukraine, announced Tuesday morning that he supported the Senate’s immediate consideration of whomever Trump nominates to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

“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,” the first sentence of his statement, somehow, reads. “It is based on the immutable fairness of following the law, which in this case is the Constitution and precedent. The historical precedent of election year nominations is that the Senate generally does not confirm an opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of its own.”

Like the late maverick statesman John McCain, who endorsed blockading any and all of Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court picks if she had won the presidency, Romney is not going to let his nonconformity keep him from lining up with his party when there’s a big prize to be won, even if it means throwing his support behind a president he publicly deemed unfit. The Constitution, precedent, and the immutable fairness of following the law leave him no choice but to grab the hell out of that seat and give conservatives a 6–3 majority on the Supreme Court.

“The Constitution gives the President the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees,” he said. “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.”

Republicans likely had the votes they needed to move forward on Monday night, following Sen. Cory Gardner’s announcement that he would sacrifice his political career to support the confirmation process. Only two Republican senators, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, have rejected moving forward on the grounds that it’s too close to the election and Republicans should follow the precedent they set by refusing to consider Judge Merrick Garland in 2016. It would take four Republicans to switch in order to block the confirmation process. With Romney now on his side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the votes and one to spare, in the rare event a surprise senator comes down with a case of the Consciences.

On Saturday, Trump is scheduled to announce the nominee for whom they’ve committed themselves to holding a vote.