Graham: GOP has votes to confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHere's who Biden is now considering for budget chief House Democratic leaders back Shalanda Young for OMB after Tanden withdrawal The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? MORE (R-S.C.) predicted on Monday that Republicans will confirm President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE's forthcoming nominee to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgBill introduced to create RBG monument on Capitol Hill Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits McConnell backs Garland for attorney general MORE's Supreme Court seat before the November elections.

"I've seen this move before. It's not going to work. ... We've got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg's replacement before the election. We're going to move forward in the committee. We're going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election," Graham told Fox News. 

"We're going to have a process that you will be proud of. The nominee is going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee. And we've got the votes to confirm the ... justice on the floor of the Senate before the election, and that's what is coming," he added. 


Graham's prediction comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks DOJ declined to take up Chao ethics probe Trump was unhinged and unchanged at CPAC MORE (R-Ky.) hasn't yet tipped his hand on if he will push for a vote before the Nov. 3 election or wait until the end-of-the-year lame-duck session, a strategy that could have risks for Republicans if Trump loses. 

McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor on Monday, only vowed that Trump's forthcoming nominee, whom the president is expected to name later this week, will get a vote on the Senate floor this year. 

"The Senate will vote on this nomination this year," McConnell said. 

If Democrats want to prevent McConnell from filling the seat, they will need to win over four GOP senators to vote against proceeding to the nomination. Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneDemocrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill Senate GOP will force clerks to read bill to delay COVID-19 relief vote Parliamentarian strikes down Pelosi priority in aid package MORE (R-S.D.), McConnell's No. 2, also stopped short of predicting Republicans would have at least 50 of their 53 members, noting the issue would be discussed at a closed-door caucus lunch on Tuesday. 

So far, two GOP senators — Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior reverses Trump policy that it says restricted science | Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination | Republicans press Biden environment nominee on Obama-era policy Republicans, please save your party Susan Collins to back Haaland's Interior nomination MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill White House not ready to name Tanden replacement The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington on high alert as QAnon theory marks March 4 MORE (Alaska) — have said they don't think the Senate should take up the nomination before the elections.


But McConnell appears to have locked down other key swing votes, including institutionalists such as 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.) and vulnerable GOP incumbents such as Sens. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstDemocrats cut deals to bolster support for relief bill Bill to shorten early voting period, end Election Day early in Iowa heads to governor's desk We know how Republicans will vote — but what do they believe? MORE (R-Iowa) and Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 MORE (R-Colo.), who both signaled support on Monday for filling a Supreme Court vacancy this year. 

Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyRepublicans, please save your party Mellman: How the Senate decided impeachment The Memo: Is Trump mounting a comeback — or finally fading? MORE (R-Utah) is viewed as the last likely swing vote on the issue. Even if he came out against taking up the nomination before the election, that would still put the Senate at a 50-50 tie that Vice President Pence could break. 

Graham's position on the Supreme Court vacancy has come under scrutiny after a 2016 video went viral over the weekend of the GOP senator saying that a Supreme Court seat should not be filled during an election year. 

"I want you to use my words against me. If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let's let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination," he said four years ago when arguing against then-President Obama's nomination of Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks National Sheriffs' Association backs Biden pick for key DOJ role Why do we still punish crack and powder cocaine offenses differently? MORE.

But Graham has argued that the contentious confirmation process in 2018 surrounding Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughJustices hear sparring over scope of safeguards for minority voters Supreme Court faces landmark challenge on voting rights Will 'Cover-up Cuomo' be marching to 'Jail to the Chief'? MORE, who faced allegations of sexual assault, changed his view of the court fight. 


Democrats on the Judiciary Committee sent Graham a letter over the weekend urging him to delay action on a Supreme Court nominee until a new Senate is sworn in next year.

Graham, however, rejected that request in a letter on Monday responding to committee Democrats, adding that he would "proceed expeditiously."

“I ... think it is important that we proceed expeditiously to process any nomination made by President Trump to fill this vacancy. I am certain if the shoe were on the other foot, you would do the same,” Graham wrote in a letter to Democrats.