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

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — Tasmanian devil wipes out penguin population The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure This week: Senate set for voting rights fight MORE (R-S.C.) predicted on Monday that Republicans will confirm President TrumpDonald TrumpWhat blue wave? A close look at Texas today tells of a different story Democrats go down to the wire with Manchin Trump's former bodyguard investigated in NY prosectors' probe: report MORE's forthcoming nominee to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgOcasio-Cortez says Breyer should retire from Supreme Court Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema Juan Williams: Time for Justice Breyer to go 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. 

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Graham's prediction comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats go down to the wire with Manchin Schumer unloads on GOP over elections bill: 'How despicable of a man is Donald Trump?' This week: Senate set for voting rights fight 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 ThuneOn The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling Psaki: Biden 'believes' Congress will lift debt limit despite spending battle Congress barrels toward debt cliff 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 CollinsPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPortman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (Alaska) — have said they don't think the Senate should take up the nomination before the elections.

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But McConnell appears to have locked down other key swing votes, including institutionalists such as Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Tenn.) and vulnerable GOP incumbents such as Sens. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Meghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US 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 RomneyOvernight Defense: Senate panel delays Iraq war powers repeal | Study IDs Fort Hood as least-safe base for female soldiers | Pentagon loosens some COVID-19 restrictions Senate panel delays war authorization repeal after GOP push Eliminate family and child poverty: Richard Nixon may help in today's debate 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 GarlandAirline groups ask DOJ to help crack down on violent passengers House Judiciary asks DOJ to disclose remaining gag orders The Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? MORE.

But Graham has argued that the contentious confirmation process in 2018 surrounding Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court rules against NCAA in dispute over student-athlete compensation Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision MORE, who faced allegations of sexual assault, changed his view of the court fight. 

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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.