Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) says the Senate will not drag its feet when it comes to processing President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court to fill the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” on Sept. 20, Cotton said, “The Senate will exercise our constitutional duty. We’ll process that nomination. We’ll conduct hearings. We’ll be thorough and deliberate and careful.”
“We will move forward without delay,” he added.
When asked if Cotton believes that there will be a confirmation before the general election, he said, “There will be a vote.”
“It’s too soon to say right now, but we will move forward without delay,” he said.
He went on to assure voters that Republicans will not “cut corners” during the confirmation process. He also noted that while the average time it takes for a Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed is around 70 days, there are examples where the process has been shorter.
However, he said he believes the Senate will confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
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Cotton was also pressed on his apparent shift from his view in 2016 that a Supreme Court vacancy should be held open during a presidential election year.
He responded, “In 2014, the American people elected a Republican majority in the Senate to put the breaks on President Obama’s judicial nominations. In 2018, we had a referendum on this question. Just a month before the 2018 mid-terms, we had the vote on Justice Kavanaugh. There could not have been a clearer mandate because the American people didn’t just re-elect Republicans — they expanded our majority.”
“The defeated four Democratic senators who voted against Justice Kavanaugh, they re-elected the one Democratic senator who did vote for Justice Kavanaugh, so we have a clear mandate to perform our constitutional duty,” he added.
Cotton did not answer if he believes it would be proper to confirm Trump’s nominee during a lame-duck session if the president lost re-election and Democrats regained control of the Senate.
The path to a confirmation vote for a Trump nominee is unclear at this point. Republicans currently hold a narrow 53-47 majority, and so far, two Republican senators have voiced their belief the president elected on Nov. 3 should choose the next Supreme Court nominee.
However, Cotton said he believes Republicans may have the votes to confirm a nominee before the election and even suggested that some Democratic senators may cross party lines to fill the vacancy.