Court Battles

Conservative group launches $2.2 million campaign urging GOP senators to fill Ginsburg's seat

A conservative group focused on the judiciary on Monday announced a $2.2 million ad blitz urging GOP senators to vote on President Trump's forthcoming Supreme Court nominee to fill the seat previously held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Judicial Crisis Network rolled out an ad, titled "Follow Precedent," that will air on cable in Colorado, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina and Utah. Each state has a vulnerable Republican up for reelection in November, while Utah is home to Sen. Mitt Romney (R), who is considered a possible swing vote on whether to confirm Trump's eventual nominee by Election Day. The ad will also air in Washington, D.C.

"President Trump will soon pick a strong nominee, and the Senate should act quickly to confirm her," Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino said in a statement.

"Justice Ginsburg was confirmed in 42 days. Justice [Sandra Day] O'Connor in 33. They both received overwhelming bipartisan support. There is no reason Judge Amy Coney Barrett or Judge Barbara Lagoa could not be confirmed before the election," she added.

The organization echoed Republican senators who have argued that past precedent shows most nominations made during an election year have been confirmed when the White House and Senate are held by the same party. 

"Why won't Democrats support [Amy Coney] Barrett or [Barbara] Lagoa, like they did O'Connor and Ginsburg?" Severino said. "Because the Democrats are extremists, which is why they are already threatening to pack the Court and destroy the Senate if a nominee is confirmed. The Senate should ignore the extremists, stick to precedent, and confirm the nominee."

Trump said earlier Monday he hoped to have his nominee confirmed by Election Day. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have said they do not support confirming a nominee so close to the election. Trump has criticized both women, even as Collins faces a tough reelection fight.

Democrats, meanwhile, have accused Republicans of hypocrisy, citing their refusal in 2016 to grant a hearing to Merrick Garland. Then-President Obama nominated Garland after Justice Antonin Scalia died that February.

Monday's ad marks the opening salvo in what is likely to be an intense and pricey push from conservative groups to get Trump's nominee confirmed before Election Day. Judicial Crisis Network and other groups spent millions of dollars in the confirmation battles involving Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Demand Justice, a progressive outside group, has said it will spend $10 million on an ad campaign aimed at preventing the Senate from filling Ginsburg's seat until after the presidential inauguration in January. 

Ginsburg died last Friday of pancreatic cancer. She was 87.

Trump said on Fox News earlier Monday that he will name a nominee for the vacancy likely on Friday or Saturday, saying he wanted to defer until after services for Ginsburg had concluded.

The president said he's looking at a final short list of four or five candidates. Sources familiar with the discussions say Barrett and Lagoa are the favorites for the position, with Allison Jones Rushing's name in the mix as well. All three are federal appellate court judges appointed by Trump.

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