WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) says he will confirm a Supreme Court nominee put forth by President Donald Trump before election day, but only if he likes the candidate.
Controversy has risen to the forefront after the death Friday of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Many believe the president should not be allowed to offer up a nominee so close to election day.
However, Trump has promised to submit his nominee by the end of the week and expects to have it confirmed while Republicans remain in control of the U.S. Senate.
In a written statement Monday, Lee said he will follow the same procedures as when he rejected President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the seat left vacant after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“In 2016, President Obama nominated a replacement for Justice Scalia and my Senate colleagues and I gave our advice and consent on the nominee, consistent with the Constitution, by rejecting him." said Lee in the statement. "This year, President Trump will nominate a replacement for Justice Ginsburg and, consistent with the Constitution, we will again give our advice and consent. If we like the nominee, we will confirm her. If we don’t, we won’t. It's that simple."
The rejection of Garland, a nomination made almost a year before Obama left office, was seen as a blueprint for not moving forward with confirmations until the country decides who will be in office next spring. Despite the precedence, Republicans have moved off their stance from four years ago and seem willing to confirm Trump's nominee should one be put forth.
In 2016, Lee went as far to say that it would be a "waste of the Senate's time" for Obama to even put forward a nominee. In a social media post on March 16, 2016, Lee said the U.S. has always been able to deal with temporary vacancies on the court and would be able to do so again.