The claim: Four senators — Murkowski, Romney, Collins and Grassley — do not support a Supreme Court nomination vote before January
Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Donald Trump said he would move “without delay” to nominate a successor.
While four GOP senators would need to join Democrats to stop aconfirmation , a viral Facebook posts claims that has already happened.
“4 republican senators now on board..no vote until January on SC,” reads a Sept. 18 Facebook post that has been shared over 1,000 times. “Murkowski, Romney, Collins, Grassley.”
The claim also went viral on Twitter late on Friday, after former Utah politician Jim Dabakis tweeted: “BREAKING: A high-level Romney insider tells me Mitt Romney has committed to not confirming a Supreme Court nominee until after Inauguration Day 2021.”
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user and Dabakis for comment.
Where do the senators stand?
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, stated prior to the announcement of Ginsburg’s death that she would not vote to confirm a nominee before the election if she was presented with a vacancy on the court.
“I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election,” Murkowski told Alaska Public Media, saying her reasoning is based on the same reasoning that blocked the confirmation ofPresident Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court in 2016.
Murkowski noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Americans need to decide on the next president before the Senate confirmed a new justice months prior to the 2016 presidential election, saying “that was too close an election, and that the people needed to decide”
While many have speculated that Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah — the only Republican to vote in favor of impeaching Trump — would vote against allowing Trump to appoint a Supreme Court justice, he has not yet made his plans known to the public and a staffer has denied the claim.
"This is grossly false. #fakenews," tweeted Liz Johnson, Romney's communications director, in response to Dabakis' tweet.
— Liz Johnson (@LJ0hnson) September 19, 2020
Romney did not make any mention of his stance, but did release a statement of condolence after Ginsburg's death.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told Jonathan Martin of the New York Times earlier in this month that she was opposed to seating a Supreme Court justice in October. On Saturday, Collins made her stance official.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” Collins tweeted. “In fairness to the American people who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”
In 2018, when Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, was questioned by Fox News if he would support a nomination in the last year of Trump's term, he said, "If I'm chairman they won't take it up."
"Because I pledged that in 2016," Grassley said. "That's a decision I made a long time ago."
But Grassley said the current chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee would have to decide for themself whether to hold a confirmation hearing.
When he was chairman of the committee, Grassley drew criticism from Democrats in 2016, afterhe blocked confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee.
In July, during a call with Iowa reporters, Grassley said he would not recommend holding a hearing on a candidate if Trump were to nominate a replacement, the Des Moines Register reported. Grassley added the decision is up to the current committee chairman, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "But if he decides to have a hearing, that's his decision. And then whether or not the nominee would come up on the floor before the election would be Chairman McConnell's decision, and you would have to ask him what he's going to do in that regard," he also said, according to the Register.
He has not commented either way since Ginsburg's death.
The nominee would need 51 votes to be confirmed by the Senate.
McConnell could push forward with a vote during the "lame duck" period between Election Day and Inauguration Day, however, the nomination would fail if four Republicans opposed.
Our rating: Partly false
The claim that Republican Sens. Murkowski, Romney, Collins and Grassley have said they were against filling the Supreme Court vacancy before January is PARTLY FALSE, based on our research. Romney has not publicly stated his view. Grassley said before Ginsburg's death that he opposed a vote before the election, however, has not stated his position since. And, Grassley has said those decisions are now in the hands of two other leading Senate Republicans.// But it is true that Murkowski and Collins have said the American people should be offered the chance to cast their ballots before the Senate votes on Trump's eventual nominee, giving voters a chance to weigh in on the decision.
Our fact-check sources:
Alaska Public Media, Sept. 18, Alaska Senator Murkowski said Friday she would not vote for a justice ahead of Inauguration Day
Liz Johnson, Sept. 18, tweet
Liz Johnson, Sept. 18, tweet
Jonathan Martin, Sept. 18, tweet
Sen. Susan Collins, Sept. 19, tweet
The Hill, Oct. 9, 2018, Grassley says he wouldn't consider a Supreme Court nomination in 2020
Des Moines Register, Sept. 18, Here's how Iowa's Republican US senators said they would handle an election-year Supreme Court vacancy
USA TODAY, Sept. 19, What we know about how Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be replace on Supreme Court
USA TODAY, Oct. 10, 2018, Chuck Grassley won't consider a Supreme Court nominee from President Trump in 2020
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Partly false claim on 4 senators' Supreme Court intentions