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Here Are The Senators to Watch in Supreme Court Justice Vote

2020-09-20 05:04:26

WASHINGTON — The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has touched off a partisan brawl in the Senate to confirm President Trump’s nominee to replace her, a vote that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has vowed to hold.

With Democrats all but certain to unite in opposition to Mr. Trump’s nominee — or at least the effort to consider one so close to the presidential election — Mr. McConnell can afford few defections on his side. Republicans hold a 53-to-47 majority in the Senate, meaning they can lose only three votes, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie, and still confirm Mr. Trump’s nominee.

Here are four Republicans being closely watched as possible defectors.

Ms. Collins, the lone New England Republican remaining in Congress and one of her party’s most politically endangered members, has been a pivotal swing vote in filling vacancies on the Supreme Court, and all eyes are on her in the battle to come.

Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, had not yet been elected to Congress when the fight to confirm Justice Kavanaugh became a partisan brawl in the Senate. But he, like Ms. Murkowski and Ms. Collins, has shown a willingness to break with the administration and the Republican Party.

Most notably, Mr. Romney became the first senator in American history to vote to remove a president of his own party from office during an impeachment trial — and the only Republican to vote to remove Mr. Trump.

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who led the Judiciary Committee in 2016, has said that he would not conduct Supreme Court confirmation hearings in a presidential election year, particularly given the Republican blockade of Merrick B. Garland, Mr. Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.

But Mr. Grassley no longer oversees the committee. He gave no hint of his intentions in a statement after news of Justice Ginsburg’s death, praising her “sharp legal mind, tenacity and resilience.”


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