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Photo: Greg Nash/AFP/Pool via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced Tuesday that he would support moving forward with a Senate vote on President Trump's selection to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Why it matters: Barring any big surprises, Democrats have virtually no shot at stopping the confirmation process for the president’s nominee before November’s election.

The big picture: Romney was one of the few Republican senators who were question marks amid Trump's push to quickly nominate a replacement for Ginsburg. Earlier this year, Romney was the sole Republican who voted to convict Trump for abuse of power after the impeachment trial.

  • Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have both said they oppose voting before the election.

What he's saying: "The historical precedent of election year nominations is that the Senate generally does not confirm an opposing party’s nominee but does confirm a nominee of its own," Romney said in a statement.

  • “The Constitution gives the president the power to nominate and the Senate the authority to provide advice and consent on Supreme Court nominees."
  • "Accordingly, I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the president’s nominee. If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications.”

Driving the news: Romney declined to say at a press gaggle whether he would support voting for Ginsburg's replacement in the lame-duck congressional session between November and January if Biden wins the presidency.

Context: Republicans in 2016 opposed confirming President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, because it was an election year and control of the government was divided between the GOP and Democrats. Romney said in the press gaggle that he did not believe the Garland decision was "unfair," arguing that it was "consistent with precedent."

Go deeper

Updated Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump slams McConnell for blocking vote on $2,000 stimulus checks

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) request to hold a vote on a House standalone measure that would boost the size of stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000 per person.

Why it matters: President Trump has demanded that the payments be increased, creating a rift between him and Senate GOP leadership ahead of a crucial runoff election in Georgia that will determine control of the chamber. He tweeted on Tuesday afternoon: "Unless Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they must approve the $2000 payments ASAP. "

McConnell: "No realistic path to quickly pass" stimulus check increase

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday he does not see a "realistic path to quickly pass" a House-approved standalone measure for $2,000 stimulus checks, despite calls from President Trump for increased payments.

Why it matters: The move effectively kills any pathway to pass the bill before the end of the the 116th Congress.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.