McConnell Locks In Gardner And Grassley For SCOTUS Vote

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) testifies on the challenges of legal cannabis and banking, during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on July 23, 2019. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Two more key GOP senators have joined ranks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in his controversial move to fill the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who represents a crucial seat in Republicans’ fight to keep the Senate and who is trailing former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in the polls, announced on Monday night that he would support a vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court.

“I have and will continue to support judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution, not legislate from the bench, and uphold the law,” Gardner said in a statement. “Should a qualified nominee who meets this criteria be put forward, I will vote to confirm.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who said in 2018 that he would not allow a SCOTUS vacancy to be filled in 2020 if he were still chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee “if the ball’s the same as it is” when former President Barack Obama tried to appoint Merrick Garland, told Des Moines Register on Monday that “once the hearings are underway, it’s my responsibility to evaluate the nominee on the merits, just as I always have.”

“While there was ambiguity about the American people’s will for the direction of the Supreme Court in 2016 under a divided government, there is no such ambiguity in 2020,” Grassley said.

Gardner and Grassley, who has been replaced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as Judiciary chair, were part of a handful of Republican senators who could have potentially blocked McConnell and President Donald Trump’s efforts to replace Ginsburg, given Gardner’s tough reelection bid and Grassley’s previous remarks against a Supreme Court appointment in 2020.

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