Utah senator Mitt Romney (R.) announced he is in favor of holding a vote on President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, effectively ensuring Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement will receive a Senate vote.
"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 Tuesday. "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 was considered one of the potential Republican defectors who could oppose holding a vote on the nominee before the November election. Romney was the only Republican senator to vote to remove Trump from office during Trump's impeachment trial at the beginning of this year.
Romney explained to reporters Tuesday morning that he favors a legal expert who is also a "strict constructionist" to replace Ginsburg, saying he welcomes a more conservative Court.
"I recognize that we may have a Court which has more of a conservative bent than it has had over the last few decades," Romney said. "But 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."
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney signaled in a statement that he's on board with an election year confirmation for a Supreme Court nominee, saying that if a nominee reaches the Senate floor then he will vote "based upon their qualifications." https://t.co/ywAVxbAVIv pic.twitter.com/aYXzOfRLH8
— CNN (@CNN) September 22, 2020
Republican senators Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have both said they oppose holding the vote before the election. Sens. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) and Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) announced their support for the vote, giving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) 51 senators in support of voting on the nominee.
Updated 11:42 a.m.: This was updated with Romney's comments to reporters.