Hours after the news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday, Republicans rushed to embrace President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plans to fill his seat on the court, despite the impending presidential election. Senator Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Was one of the first GOP senators to support the decision, leaving Democrats behind a plan to avoid welcoming justice that could erase the decades of progress Ginsburg made for women, minorities and the i need.
She was not alone: Nearly all Republican senators stood behind Trump and McConnell, despite the GOP’s opposition to holding a hearing for President Barack Obama̵
That includes all but one of the half-dozen Republicans who, like McSally, are running for re-election in purple states this fall.
Even as they struggle to adapt to the development of the surprising Supreme Court in the final weeks before the election, Republicans fighting for re-election see both a historic opportunity to push the Supreme Court to the right for decades, with a 6-3 majority and an opportunity to adapt closer to Trump to a key issue for their party.
“Voting for a highly-qualified women’s justice system can provide the energy to counter what is still the biggest responsibility of many Republicans in turn: Trump,” said Barbara Comstock, a former GOP congresswoman who worked in the Bush administration’s Department of Justice and confirmations by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
REPUBLICAN SENATORS NEAR RANGE
Senator Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Who is seen as the most threatened Republican sitting before November, had no answer to questions about the vacancy at a candidate forum on Saturday.
But his office was prepared with a press release Monday night, after he returned to Washington.
“I have and will continue to support legal nominees who will protect our constitution, not legislate from the bench and uphold the law. If a qualified candidate who meets these criteria is submitted, I will vote to confirm,” he said in a statement. was released at 7 p.m., local time.
“Once the president has presented his candidate to the Supreme Court, I will fulfill my duty – as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee – to evaluate the candidate for our nation’s Supreme Court,” said Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who runs neck and neck with Democrat Theresa Greenfield, said on Monday.
Senator Thom Tillis, RN.C., who is in a race against Democratic lawyer Cal Cunningham, drew Trump’s outrage in 2017, after introducing a bill to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and almost faced a primary over what some Republican states considered the lack of support for the President.
But he has come closer to Trump since then and warmed up the audience for him at a meeting in North Carolina on Saturday after announcing his support for considering Trump’s candidate. There, the president even praised him for “being by my side.”
Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, is the only Republican to be re-elected this year – and one of two in the Senate, with Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska – questioning McConnell’s plans to get a top court candidate through the House, weeks before valet.
“We are simply too close to the election, and to be fair to the American people – and consistent, as it was with the Garland nomination – the decision was not taken, a decision I did not agree with, but my position did not prevail. “Collins said on Tuesday at Capitol Hill. “I think now we have to play by the same set of rules.”
On Tuesday, however, it appeared that McConnell had enough support to go ahead with confirming that Trump will name his candidate, especially after Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he supports the plans to fill the vacancy.
Collins is an exception to what appears to be the rule, having developed a career as a moderate vote in the Senate election, which could also address Trump’s promise to appoint judges who would “automatically” overthrow Roe. v. Wade.
“People in Maine will be reminded of how important that vote was and they will most likely hold it against Collins,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Sabato’s crystal ball shifted Maine’s Senate race in favor of the Democrats on Monday morning and moved it from a throw to a slope towards the party.
Trump is also pressuring Collins to go out of line with her strategy, which indicates that she will have consequences for the election.
“I think Susan Collins will be hurt very badly, her people will not take this. People will not take this,” he told Fox & Friends on Monday.
WHERE THE HIGHEST COURT OF JUSTICE CAN HELP REPUBLICANS
Whit Ayres, a veteran Republican poller, said supporting Trump’s candidate and plans for the confirmation process are likely to benefit some candidates – especially those like Senator Steve Daines, a Montana Republican running for re-election against Democratic Steve Bullock, in a state that president by 20 percentage points.
“It all depends on what the president’s job approval is in the state you’re talking about,” Ayres said.
In states where Trump’s approval numbers are poor, “it complicates matters significantly because these Republicans must have 100% of Trump supporters plus a significant number of Biden supporters to win,” he said.
With both sides wanting to turn that energy into a whale, that effort is becoming increasingly important in North Carolina, where a close race can be the one that determines the balance of power in the Senate. Experts see vacancies as a likely blessing for Tilli’s ombudsman and provide the first term senator, who follows his Democratic rival in most elections, with a galvanizing question for Republican voters who are still on the fence about him.
“It seems to me that would help him. North Carolina is right on the edge,” Sabato said. “This may be the difference here – 10, 15, 20,000 votes – that keep North Carolina in the Republican column for the president and for the Senate. It’s too early.”
DEMOCRATS WANT DELAY CONFIRMATION
When Republicans (mostly) shed tears in line with McConnell’s way forward, the Democratic challengers over the main battlefields issue a single chorus: Wait for the confirmation process until after the election.
Mark Kelly, a top Democratic recruiter trying to remove McSally in a special election, argued against speeding up the process “for political purposes” and previewing the battles that will come over the next month or so.
“This is a decision that will affect Arizonans, especially with a forthcoming case on health care and protection against existing conditions,” he said in a statement.
Kelly is in a unique position this fall, as a special choice allows him to sit early – an obstacle that could complicate McConnell’s plans if they extend to a lame duck session.
Excluded from significant legal challenges, Kelly was able to sit as early as Nov. 30, and both Republican and Democratic election law experts told ABC News that Arizona law would allow him to take certified election results and prove him the winner to the Senate. before January, in an attempt to take McSally’s seat.
“There is nothing in the charter that says he has to wait until all the other new senators are sworn in,” said Andrew Gordon, a lawyer and Democrat.
ABC News’s Meg Cunningham contributed to the report.