SPONSORED:

Senate GOP faces pivotal moment on pick for Supreme Court

Republicans will gather as a conference on Tuesday and for the first time discuss whether to speed forward with confirming a successor to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Mitt Romney did not vote for Trump in 2020 election The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett MORE.

All signs suggest the GOP will move with speed to confirm a nominee before Election Day, a move that would upend the Senate and begin a new tumultuous era for the body.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE said Monday he would nominate a justice by Friday or Saturday, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Trump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE (R-Ky.) in a floor speech said there was “more than enough time” to confirm a nominee before the end of the year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (N.Y.) over the weekend said nothing is off the table if Republicans move to replace Ginsburg with a conservative justice before Election Day, just four years after the GOP blocked former President Obama’s nominee, Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE, from getting even a hearing eight months ahead of an election.

Schumer’s threats have been widely interpreted as signals that Democrats would move to do away with the legislative filibuster or even seek to add justices to the Supreme Court if the GOP moves forward.

Only two GOP senators so far have indicated they do not think the Senate should vote on a Trump nominee before the election: Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid Senate is leaning to the Democrats, big time, with a wave MORE of Maine and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats to boycott committee vote on Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Senate to vote Monday to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court Senate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court MORE of Alaska.

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMitt Romney did not vote for Trump in 2020 election Biden: Johnson should be 'ashamed' for suggesting family profited from their name The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by the Walton Family Foundation — Pope Francis expresses support for same-sex unions MORE (Utah), who voted to impeach Trump, said Monday evening that he wants to hear more from his colleagues Tuesday before commenting.

“Before I have any comment I’m going to meet with my colleagues, which I’ll be doing tomorrow,” he said. “Until then, I’m going to be waiting.”

But Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats seek to block appeal of court ruling ousting Pendley, BLM land plans Senate is leaning to the Democrats, big time, with a wave Cunningham, Tillis locked in tight race in North Carolina: poll MORE (Colo.), who faces a difficult reelection race, indicated in a statement that he would vote on a Trump nominee.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law,” Garnder said in a statement. “Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.”

A majority of GOP senators support moving forward with a vote, with some arguing the high court needs its full complement of justices in case the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election are disputed, a possibility that senators view as increasingly likely.

“There are some arguments for why you don’t want to have a potential 4-4 split on the court, and I’m concerned about that too,” said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: Obama to hit the campaign trail l Biden's eye-popping cash advantage l New battleground polls favor Biden Quinnipiac poll finds Biden, Trump tied in Texas Biden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver MORE (R-Texas).

Another argument is that voting before Election Day would do more to rev up conservative voters, who turned out in large numbers in swing states in the 2018 midterm elections shortly after Senate Republicans confirmed Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSusan Collins and the American legacy The Senate should evoke RBG in its confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court's Pennsylvania mail ballot ruling tees up test for Barrett MORE to the Supreme Court after a bitter confirmation fight.

Trump supporters chanted “fill that seat” at a campaign rally the president held in North Carolina on Saturday.

Conversely, filling the seat might dampen Democratic enthusiasm ahead of Election Day as there would no longer be a vacant Supreme Court seat on the line.

A third consideration is that many believe it would become much more challenging politically to confirm Trump’s nominee in a lame-duck session if the president loses reelection and Republicans lose control of the Senate.

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyJustice Department charges Google with illegally maintaining search monopoly Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform Hillicon Valley: Trump refuses to condemn QAnon | Twitter revises its policy, lets users share disputed article | Google sees foreign cyber threats MORE (R-Mo.), a rising conservative star, said Monday that he wants to have the vote before Election Day and predicted some of his colleagues might become “less comfortable” about filling the seat in a lame-duck session.

“I think we have an obligation to act. The sooner that we do that, the better,” he said. “I think it’s better if we do it before Election Day than if we drag it out.”

Other GOP senators on Monday declined to speculate about the political implications of a Supreme Court confirmation vote in a lame-duck if Democrats win big on Election Day.

“That’s a hypothetical. I’m not going to go into that,” Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP coronavirus bill blocked as deal remains elusive Clyburn predicts action on coronavirus relief after elections GOP to Trump: Focus on policy MORE (S.D.) said.

Republican senators and GOP aides say Trump’s nominee could receive a hearing, a committee vote and a floor vote in only a few weeks and that no steps will be skipped nor corners cut.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntPower players play chess match on COVID-19 aid GOP to Trump: Focus on policy Low-flying helicopters to measure radiation levels in DC before inauguration MORE (R-Mo.) said that while it would be a challenge to complete the confirmation process in 40 days or so, it would not be impossible.

“It would be the new recent world record,” he said, noting that Ginsburg was confirmed in 42 days. “We’d have to do more than we’ve done in a long time to get one done that quickly but it’s possible.

“I think it should take as long as it takes … at the same time, I don’t think we should drag it out,” he added.