Pre-empting the expectations of many that he might have reservations about an immediate Senate vote on replacing the just-deceased Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander announced Sunday that taking such a vote would be fine with him.
Said the Senator: “No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year. The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it. Going back to George Washington, the Senate has confirmed many nominees to the Supreme Court during a presidential election year. It has refused to confirm several when the president and Senate majority were of different parties. Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot. I have voted to confirm Justices Roberts, Alito, Sotomayor, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh based upon their intelligence, character and temperament. I will apply the same standard when I consider President Trump’s nomination to replace Justice Ginsburg.”
Thus, for the second time within a year, Alexander deflated the hopes of those independents and Democrats who thought that the Senator, on the basis of his reputation as a Republican moderate, might part the ways with President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on a major issue. (The other time was on the occasion of the impeachment of Trump, when Alexander voted with other GOP regulars to acquit the president without hearing witnesses.)