GOP senators see political, principle gain in court fight

Full Screen
1 / 10

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives to meet with reporters following a Republican strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. Republican efforts to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg are likely to move swiftly this week, with President Donald Trump possibly nominating a replacement within days and GOP senators hoping to jump-start the confirmation process. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump marveled at a rally this week about how important Supreme Court nominations are to voters.

But Senate Republicans are with the voters on that. Despite Democratic cries of hypocrisy, they're hoping the battle over replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg will help them keep their Senate majority as well as Trump's job in the White House.

Beyond the Nov. 3 elections, some feel the generational goal of a solidly conservative court is worth the potential blowback.

“Most of us came to the Senate, ran for the Senate, in a lot of ways for big moments like this — for an opportunity to fill seats on the Supreme Court,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the GOP whip who is not up for reelection this year.

And whatever their personal views of Trump and his presidency, Republicans also see a political payoff in sticking with him and plunging ahead to confirm his pick to fill the court vacancy before the election.

By Wednesday, as mourners gathered to view Ginsburg's casket on the court's iconic steps, objections from Democrats that the presidential winner should name the nominee had slipped by GOP senators. They were preparing for confirmation hearings as soon as Oct. 12, with a possible full Senate vote Oct. 29. Trump is to announce his choice Saturday.

“The process is going to go very quickly,” Trump said at the White House.

The president suggested doing away with confirmation hearings, and said later he wants the new justice confirmed before the election. “It's better,” he said about the timing.