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GOP Sen. Murkowski already backtracks after initially saying she won't support SCOTUS confirmation


'Now, having said that, this process is moving forward'

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As President Donald Trump prepares to announce his nomination to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, Senate Republicans are shoring up their numbers to ensure the nominee is confirmed prior to the election.

Now, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who originally said she would not vote to confirm a new justice before the election on Nov. 3, is already seemingly backtracking.

What did Murkowski say before?

In a statement over the weekend, Murkowski explained that she did not support filling the high court vacancy in an election year four years ago — and she does not support doing so now.

For weeks, I have stated I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed. I did not support taking up a nomination before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia, we are now even closer to the 2020 election — less than two months out and I believe the same standard must apply.

Murkowski's statement came one day after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is fighting to keep her Senate seat, said she believes the winner of the election should decide who fills the Supreme Court vacancy.

Murkowski and Collins are two of the most moderate Senate Republicans.

What is Murkowski saying now?

Despite her comments just two days prior, Murkowski suggested Tuesday that she may vote to confirm whomever Trump nominates.

"I know everybody wants to ask the question, 'Will you confirm the nominee?' We don't have a nominee yet. You and I don't know who that is. And so I can't confirm whether or not I can confirm a nominee when I don't know who the nominee is," she said, Alaska Public Media reported.

However, Murkowski reiterated her opposition to confirming a new Supreme Court justice so close to the election — but again implied the timetable will not make a difference in how she votes.

"I do not support this process moving forward," she said. "Now, having said that, this process is moving forward with or without me.

"If I had felt that there was a rush to move this through because you're up against a deadline that is hard and fast, like an election, and that a nominee had not been thoroughly and fairly evaluated through our process, then I'm going to have to look at that," she added.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Monday that he has enough support to confirm Trump's nominee.

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