Republicans can’t be stopped from confirming Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Senate Democrat says

A top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee admitted there is little his party can now do to stop Republicans from confirming a new nominee by President Trump to the Supreme Court before the November elections, saying he and his colleagues have no “triple-secret procedural trick” that can slow the process down.

“We’ve been through this recently with Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh and before that with Justice [Neil] Gorsuch, so if there were some triple-secret procedural trick that we could pull we would have been pretty negligent in not pulling it in those two earlier proceedings,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., told the Yahoo News “Skullduggery” podcast. For GOP senators, “Unless you’ve gotten a hall pass so that everybody understands that you’re OK and this is not going to affect the outcome, this is like a tribal check-in and you’ve got to be on the team because if you’re not this is one of those no-going-back moments for you.”

With President Trump expected to announce his pick this weekend, Whitehouse said he believes Republicans will move quickly and be positioned to hold a vote before the election, possibly skipping an FBI background check and other standard vetting. When asked if the Senate rules allow for such tactics, Whitehouse said the rules can be easily amended to allow for skipping steps.

“They’re going to do whatever they need to,” he said. “There is no higher priority for Republicans in the Senate than to seize this Supreme Court seat.”

Whitehouse made the remarks hours after Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican who has bucked the president in the past, announced that he was open to the Senate voting on whomever Trump selects to replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week following a battle with cancer. Romney was viewed by some Democrats as one of a handful of Republican senators who might defect and oppose Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s determination to confirm a new nominee. But Romney in a statement Tuesday said: “If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications.”

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