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Alexander backs vote on Trump Supreme Court nominee: What Democrats 'would do if the shoe were on the other foot'

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderCongress addressed surprise medical bills, but the issue is not resolved Trump renominates Judy Shelton in last-ditch bid to reshape Fed Senate swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes MORE (R-Tenn.) said Sunday that he supports holding a Senate vote on President TrumpDonald TrumpGiuliani used provisional ballot to vote in 2020 election, same method he disparaged in fighting to overturn results Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Fox News' DC managing editor Bill Sammon to retire MORE's nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left after Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg, George Floyd among options for 'Remember the Titans' school's new name Bipartisan anger builds over police failure at Capitol Lindsey Graham praises Merrick Garland as 'sound choice' to serve as attorney general MORE died on Friday.

The Tennessee Republican, who is retiring at the end of his current term, released a statement saying that Democrats would have moved forward with a vote “if the shoe were on the other foot.”

“No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year,” he said. “The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it.” 

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Alexander said the Senate has declined to confirm nominees to the Supreme Court during an election year when the president and Senate majority were from different parties. 

“Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot,” Alexander said. 

“I have voted to confirm Justices [John] Roberts, [Samuel] Alito, [Sonia] Sotomayor, [Neil] Gorsuch and [Brett] Kavanaugh based upon their intelligence, character and temperament,” he added. “I will apply the same standard when I consider President Trump’s nomination to replace Justice Ginsburg.”

Alexander’s announcement comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhat would MLK say about Trump and the Republican Party? Biden's minimum wage push faces uphill battle with GOP GOP senators wrestle with purging Trump from party MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to hold a Senate vote on a Trump nominee for the Supreme Court ahead of the election. Trump is expected to choose a woman to fill Ginsburg’s spot this week.

Calls from McConnell and other Republicans for a confirmation vote come after the majority leader blocked former President Obama’s nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandBiden's new challenge: Holding Trump accountable Graham says he'll back Biden's CIA pick A Democratic agenda for impossibly hard times MORE’s confirmation vote in 2016, nine months ahead of the election, out of concerns that it was too close to Election Day. 

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The 2020 Election Day is 44 days away, although some voters already have participated in early voting or mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a Sunday speech, Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenWoman accused of trying to sell Pelosi laptop to Russians arrested Trump gets lowest job approval rating in final days as president Trump moves to lift coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe, Brazil MORE called on Republican senators to “please follow your conscience” and avoid pushing through a Supreme Court nominee before the election.

The Supreme Court announced on Friday that Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.