With Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing on Friday evening, there is a push to expand the conservative majority on the court before November’s presidential election. In order for a new justice to be confirmed, at least 50 senators must vote yes with a Mike Pence tie-breaker to confirm a new member of the court.
The GOP has a slim 53-47 majority and we’ve seen two Republican senators (Murkowski and Collins) already oppose appointing a justice before the Presidential Election. Lisa Murkowski was no surprise after voting against Justice Kavanaugh and Susan Collins is facing a tough re-election bid in Maine.
This leaves the GOP with one vote to lose before requiring Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie. Several republican senators are still up in the air but there is also a chance of getting a moderate Democrat like Joe Manchin to cross over. Manchin has voted for both of President Trump’s previous Supreme Court nominees. Many believed that moderate Republicans like Lindsey Graham or Lamar Alexander could possibly flip against their party but both have fully endorsed filling the seat immediately.
It’s likely the GOP will have the minimum 50 votes to get the next justice through. President Trump announced that he will name the appointee on either Friday or Saturday. Still, they’ll need at least one Senator on this list to get the 50 needed votes. So, here’s the 5 Senators who will decide the next Supreme Court Justice.
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT)
The former presidential nominee has become one of the most independent members of Congress. He voted yes to impeach President Trump last February and has been willing to buckle against his party on key votes. Romney has not publicily made a statement and is waiting until after a GOP lunch on Tuesday to make a decesion.
Romney is one of two Republicans on this list. If he chooses to vote no, they GOP would still have the votes to get it done but it would make things much more difficult.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Manchin is a Democrat that represents one of the most conservative states in the country. He won by 3 points in 2018 and many credit his yes vote for Justice Kavanaugh for pulling him over. Manchin appeared on NBC on Mondary morning but did not reveal his decision just yet. There’s a chance he comes over once they have the 50 needed votes but it’s still up in the air. He could argue the seat should be filled in 2021 by whoever wins the Presidential Election.
Senator Doug Jones (D-AL)
The junior Senator from Alabama is almost certain to be voted out in November when he faces Republican challanger Tommy Tuberville. Jones had a miraculous victory in December 2017 against Roy Moore, a candidate plagued with scandals. He’s criticezed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for pushing a vote on a new justice over coronavirus-related bills. It’s likely that Jones votes with his party because his chances of getting elected to a full term are very doubtful.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
Sinema was the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Arizona in decades in 2018. A moderate, she has been able and willing to work across the aisle. She was not a Senator during the Kavanaugh hearings so she was unable to vote. But, since joining the Senate she has voted with the GOP for AG Barr and against the Green New Deal. Sinema is not a neccesary vote for the confirmation but she could motivate others like Manchin to cross over.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Grassley has been in the Senate since 1980 and has overseen several key Supreme Court nominations. He has yet to release a statement as of 2:30 PM ET on Monday but is expected to make a comment sometime later in the day.
If Grassley comes out in support, the GOP will have the 50 needed votes to move foward without anyone else on this list. Grassley is the current President Pro Tempore of the Senate and with a position that high, it’s likely Mitch McConnell can get him to vote yes.