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Can Trump get another Supreme Court justice before the election?
The answer appears to be "YES," according to Ted Cruz!
The Senate likely has 51 votes to confirm whoever Trump nominates, Cruz told ABC's Stephanopoulos.
Only 51 votes is needed since the Democrats changed the rules a few years ago.
In the event of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence would make the deciding vote.
See Cruz's interview with George Stephanopoulos below:
The Democrats are helpless...
That is, if the Republicans decide to stand together.
The Democrats will be unable to block a Trump pick through a filibuster.
Even the New York Times admits:
Hours after the Supreme Court announced the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, vowed that the Senate would vote on a replacement named by President Trump, setting up what is all but guaranteed to be a heated fight over the nation’s highest court that carries heavy political consequences.
That statement answered the question of whether Mr. McConnell, who in 2016 blocked President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee because it was an election year, would dare try to confirm one named by Mr. Trump so close to an election. He would. Now the question is, can Mr. McConnell pull it off?
The process is likely to be ugly, but it can be done. Here’s how it works.Can Democrats block Trump’s nominee through a filibuster?
Democrats eliminated the 60-vote threshold for most judicial nominees in 2013, frustrated by Republicans’ use of the filibuster to slow and impede Mr. Obama’s agenda. In turn, angered by resistance to the nomination of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch in 2017, Republicans abolished the limitation on Supreme Court nominees, further whittling down the scope of the filibuster.
As a result, Mr. McConnell could bring the nomination to the Senate floor and approve it with a simple majority vote. Mr. Trump signaled on Saturday that he would formally name someone to fill the vacancy in the near future.
“We have this obligation, without delay!” he tweeted, referring to the selection of justices.
It remained unclear, however, whether Mr. McConnell, himself up for re-election along with a handful of vulnerable Republican incumbents, would try to advance the nomination before Election Day. He could also opt to do so in a lame-duck congressional session after Nov. 3.
Does McConnell have the votes to confirm a nominee?
Because Republicans hold a slim majority — 53 to 47 — Democrats would need only four Republicans to join them in opposition to sink the nominee. (In the case of a tie, Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, would cast the tiebreaking vote.)
Though Mr. McConnell vowed that the Senate would vote on Mr. Trump’s chosen nominee, he notably made no mention of when that would occur — a signal that he was weighing the political calculus for the handful of vulnerable Republican senators facing tough races.
Given Mr. McConnell’s decision to refuse so much as a hearing for Judge Merrick B. Garland, Mr. Obama’s pick to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016, a handful of Republicans have signaled a desire to wait until after Election Day to approve a nomination. It is unclear, however, what objections remain to approving a nomination in the lame-duck session between November and the start of a new Congress in January.
The reality is that President Trump has the full authority to make a SCOTUS nomination.
And if he makes the nomination, there's no reason why the Senate shouldn't vote on it!
As voters yelled at Trump rallies, "Fill that seat!"
Despite predictions that several GOP senators will refuse to vote, when push comes to shove, most senators will likely stick with their party.
Five Thirty Eight agrees with that assessment:
No matter what their electoral considerations are, however, expect most senators to align with their party. That’s what usually happens on high-profile issues.
For example, the confirmation vote for Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was also on the eve of an election (Oct. 6, 2018). West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, up for reelection that November in a very pro-Trump state, broke with his party to vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s nomination. But the other nine Democrats who were up for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump won in 2016 voted against Kavanaugh.2 The one GOP senator up for reelection in 2018 in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016, Dean Heller of Nevada, also voted the party line, supporting Kavanagh.
Overall, Manchin was the only Senate Democrat to back Kavanaugh; Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican who didn’t support him.3 (More on Murkowski in a bit.)
Similarly, on the Trump impeachment votes in February, senators up for reelection this year aligned with their parties instead of their states’ politics when the two conflicted. (Collins and Gardner opposed both articles of impeachment, whereas Michigan’s Gary Peters and Jones voted in favor of both articles.) Utah’s Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote for Trump’s removal, which all Senate Democrats supported. (More on Romney in a bit.)
What explains this? First of all, senators may put their personal ideological views ahead of their electoral considerations, particularly on judicial nominations. After all, it’s likely that a Republican senator would be fairly aligned with someone like Kavanaugh on most issues while a Democratic senator would be opposed. Second, the electoral effects of these kinds of votes are not totally clear. For example, Montana is more Republican-leaning than Florida, but Montana Democratic incumbent Jon Tester won reelection in 2018 while longtime Florida Democrat Bill Nelson lost. (Both voted against Kavanaugh.) Manchin voted for Kavanaugh and won, but it’s not clear he won because he voted for Kavanaugh.
Third, members of Congress, particularly those in states where they are not electorally safe, must consider their futures if they lose those elections. And the career incentives for politicians usually point toward sticking with your party on key votes. Jones was a prominent U.S. attorney, so it’s easy to imagine him serving in some legal post in a Biden administration if he should lose reelection in Alabama in November and Biden should win. But Democrats would probably be less eager to put Jones in a high-profile role in a Biden administration if Jones had voted for Kavanaugh, opposed impeachment and spent the weeks before the 2020 election urging the Senate to hold a vote on Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg.
Senators like Gardner and McSally who have been down in the polls for months are probably aware that they are unlikely to be in Congress next year. So they might be positioning themselves for lobbying jobs (which usually involves maintaining strong relationships with the people in your party who are still in Congress) or future runs for other offices. So to keep doors open to them in GOP circles, Gardner and McSally may align with their party’s general posture in this nomination process, even if that approach slightly reduces their chances of winning reelection.
And of course, if there's a 50-50 tie, the Vice President has the authority to make the tie-breaking vote.
It's going to be a bumpy ride, but we've all got to FIGHT for the future of our country!
We must fight for FOUR MORE YEARS of President Trump!