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Toomey, swing state Republican, supports Senate moving on Trump Supreme Court nominee

Toomey, swing state Republican, supports Senate moving on Trump Supreme Court nominee
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (R-Pa.) on Tuesday said he will vote to confirm President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska NYT: Trump had 7 million in debt mostly tied to Chicago project forgiven MORE’s nominee to the Supreme Court if that person meets the appropriate criteria, putting another stake into Democratic hopes of keeping Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgBarrett starts fraught first week as Supreme Court faces fights over election, abortion rights Bitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Barrett to use Supreme Court chambers previously used by Ruth Bader Ginsburg MORE’s seat vacant until January. 

Toomey is up for reelection in 2022 in a state where former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani goes off on Fox Business host after she compares him to Christopher Steele Trump looks to shore up support in Nebraska Jeff Daniels narrates new Biden campaign ad for Michigan MORE is leading Trump in the polls by a small margin.

Despite being one of the few Senate Republicans who could face pushback from voters in 2022 for voting on Trump’s nominee so close to an election or in a lame-duck session, Toomey says it’s appropriate to confirm a justice to the Supreme Court before year’s end if that candidate is sufficiently qualified.

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“I will evaluate President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg based on whether the nominee has the character, intellect, and experience needed to serve on our nation’s highest court,” Toomey said in a statement. 

The Pennsylvania Republican noted he used the same criteria when he voted to confirm Justice Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorBarrett to use Supreme Court chambers previously used by Ruth Bader Ginsburg Justice Barrett's baptism by fire: Protecting the integrity of elections Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE to the high court in 2009. 

“If the person President Trump nominates also meets these criteria, I will vote to confirm this nominee,” Toomey said.

Toomey’s statement quashes what little, if any, hopes Democrats had left of finding four Senate Republicans to side with them in calling for Ginsburg’s seat to be held vacant until the results of the Nov. 3 election are known, and if Biden wins for a nominee to wait until 2021. 

Only moderate Republican Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - One week out, where the Trump, Biden race stands The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day House Judiciary Republicans mockingly tweet 'Happy Birthday' to Hillary Clinton after Barrett confirmation MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day Harris blasts GOP for confirming Amy Coney Barrett: 'We won't forget this' MORE (Alaska) have said the nomination should wait until it can be made by the winner of November’s presidential election.

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Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Memo: Five reasons why Trump could upset the odds Will anyone from the left realize why Trump won — again? Ratings drop to 55M for final Trump-Biden debate MORE (R-Utah) and Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle Trump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in MORE (R-Colo.), who were seen as two other voices who might object to a speedy confirmation process, this week said they will vote for the nominee if that person is properly qualified. 

“If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications," Romney said in a statement Tuesday. 

Gardner said Monday, “I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law.”

“Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm,” he said. 

Toomey in 2016 supported the decision by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Trump blasts Obama speech for Biden as 'fake' after Obama hits Trump's tax payments White House hoping for COVID-19 relief deal 'within weeks': spokeswoman MORE (R-Ky.) not to hold a vote on then-President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Ocasio-Cortez: Republicans don't believe Democrats 'have the stones to play hardball' Barrett sworn in as Supreme Court justice by Thomas MORE, in an election year.

But on Tuesday he said the situation in 2020 is different because the same party, the GOP, now controls the White House and Senate. Four years ago, Democrats controlled the White House while Republicans controlled the Senate.

“The Senate’s historical practice has been to fill Supreme Court vacancies in these circumstances. This is also a view Democrats once held,” Toomey argued.