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A spokeswoman for Sen. Mitt Romney is disputing a report claiming that the Utah lawmaker and former GOP presidential nominee would refrain from voting to confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before Inauguration Day 2021.
Immediately after news broke of Ginsburg’s death on Friday evening, the conversation shifted toward whether President Donald Trump would move to quickly fill the seat she vacated.
Within hours, Romney was reported to have said he would not confirm a nominee to replace Ginsburg until after Jan. 20.
Former Utah state Sen. Jim Dabakis wrote in a post that was retweeted more than 18,000 times: “BREAKING: A high-level Romney insider tells me Mitt Romney has committed to not confirming a Supreme Court nominee until after Inauguration Day 2021.”
— Jim Dabakis (@JimDabakis) September 19, 2020
Debakis used the tag #Mittrevenge in an apparent reference to the contentious relationship between Romney and many of his GOP colleagues in Washington, including the president.
However, after Debakis reported that Romney was opposed to the idea of filling Ginsburg’s seat before next January, Romney’s communications director contradicted that claim.
Liz Johnson posted on Twitter: “Dear twitter and also @JimDabakis: Unless your name is Mitt Romney or you’re his spokesperson, you do not speak for Mitt Romney.”
— Liz Johnson (@LJ0hnson) September 19, 2020
Johnson then retweeted Debakis with a comment.
“This is grossly false. #fakenews,” Johnson wrote.
— Liz Johnson (@LJ0hnson) September 19, 2020
Romney joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska Friday as GOP senators who were reported to already be shooting down the idea of voting to confirm a replacement for Ginsburg on the Supreme Court before the election.
Murkowski said in an interview published before news of Ginsburg’s death that she would be opposed to confirming a high court nominee so close to Election Day.
When the scenario was still a hypothetical, the senator said she would “not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee” because she felt “that was too close to an election and that the people needed to decide.”
“We are 50-some days away from an election, and the good news for us is that all of our Supreme Court justices are in good health and doing their job. And we pray that they are able to continue that,” she said during an interview with Alaska Public Media.
While it is not clear where Romney, Murkowski or others stood on the issue as of Saturday morning, President Donald Trump indicated Saturday that Republicans must move forward on filling the Supreme Court vacancy.
“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices,” Trump tweeted.
“We have this obligation, without delay!” the president added.
.@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday that if Trump brings forth a nominee, the Senate will vote.
The Senate and the nation mourn the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life.
My full statement: pic.twitter.com/NOwYLhDxIk
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) September 19, 2020
“In the last midterm election before Justice [Antonin] Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term,” he said. “We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.
“By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary,” the Senate majority leader added.
“Once again, we will keep our promise.”