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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 AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Two weeks out, Trump attempts to rally the base McConnell aims for unity amid growing divisions with Trump Overnight Health Care: Trump takes criticism of Fauci to a new level | GOP Health Committee chairman defends Fauci | Birx confronted Pence about Atlas MORE (R-Tenn.) said Sunday that he supports holding a Senate vote on President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE's nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left after Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgLGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll 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 McConnellOn The Money: McConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a Senate vote | Pelosi, Mnuchin see progress, but no breakthrough | Trump, House lawyers return to court in fight over financial records Progress, but no breakthrough, on coronavirus relief LGBTQ voters must show up at the polls, or risk losing progress 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 GarlandDemocrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein 51 percent want Barrett seated on Supreme Court: poll Senate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing 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 BidenBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally 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.