WASHINGTON — President Trump appeared to secure enough support on Monday to fill the Supreme Court seat left open by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg without waiting for voters to decide whether to grant him a second term in what would be the fastest contested confirmation in modern history.
As Mr. Trump promised to announce his choice for the seat by Friday or “probably Saturday,” after memorial services for Justice Ginsburg, several key Senate Republicans threw their support behind a campaign-season dash to replace the liberal jurist by the election on Nov. 3 with a conservative who would shift the court’s ideological center to the right for years to come.
“We’ve got the votes to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s replacement before the election,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a close Trump ally, said Monday night on Fox News. “We’re going to move forward in the committee; we’re going to report the nomination out of the committee to the floor of the United States Senate so we can vote before the election.”
Such a timetable would leave only 38 days for the Senate to act and, as a practical matter, even less time because it is highly unlikely that Republicans would want to vote in the last few days before an election in which several of them face serious threats. Some senior Republican senators were still expressing caution about such an accelerated timetable even with the votes seemingly in hand, and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has not publicly committed to a pre-election vote.