Sen. Pat Toomey said Tuesday morning he will support moving forward the nomination of a new justice to the Supreme Court, saying "there is no reason to delay filling this vacancy."
Toomey said his decision is based on the fact that Republicans have control of the White House and the Senate, which was not the case when he opposed Merrick Garland's confirmation process in 2016.
President Donald Trump said he expects to nominate someone this weekend to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday.
“In 2016, the White House and the Senate, which share equally the constitutional authority for filling a Supreme Court vacancy, were controlled by different parties. When power is divided during a presidential election year, the Senate’s general practice has been to leave open a Supreme Court vacancy so that the voters may speak and possibly resolve the disagreement created by the division," Toomey said in a statement.
“The circumstances surrounding the current vacancy are, in fact, different. While there is a presidential election this year, the White House and the Senate are currently both controlled by the same party. The Senate’s historical practice has been to fill Supreme Court vacancies in these circumstances. This is also a view Democrats once held. We know this because every single Democratic senator pushed for Judge Garland’s confirmation and told anyone who would listen that if Democrats controlled the Senate.
“The difference between these Senate practices makes perfect sense. When divided government creates tension between the two organs responsible for filling a position on the Supreme Court, it is completely justifiable to leave open a vacancy until the voters have had a chance to speak. In 2016, the voters spoke by electing a Republican president and a Republican-controlled Senate. In 2018, the voters expanded the Republican majority in the Senate. Since the voters resolved the tension between the White House and the Senate, there is no reason to delay filling this vacancy."
Toomey said he will also vote to confirm the president's nominee if they meet the qualifications and his own evaulation.
“I will evaluate President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg based on whether the nominee has the character, intellect, and experience needed to serve on our nation’s highest court. These are the same objective, non-partisan criteria that I have used to evaluate judicial nominees under both President Obama and President Trump," he said. "If the person President Trump nominates also meets these criteria, I will vote to confirm this nominee.”