'Show the way': Conservative columnist implores Mitt Romney to reject Supreme Court power grab
Former Govenor Mitt Romney speaking with supporters of U.S. Congresswoman Martha McSally at a campaign rally at The Falls Event Center in Gilbert, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

On Monday, writing for The New York Times, conservative columnist Bret Stephens urged Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) not to support the GOP effort to ram through a Supreme Court confirmation ahead of the election.

"It isn’t hard to guess what you’re hearing from most of your fellow Republicans as they try to persuade you to cast a vote for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the election," wrote Stephens. "In a nutshell, it’s this: 'The Democrats didn’t play by the rules in the past, and you’d be a fool to think they will play by them in the future. So why should we not fill a seat that’s constitutionally ours to have?' It’s bad advice. Bad for the country. Bad for the party. Bad for you."

"I realize your decision may seem more difficult if Trump nominates a judge whose philosophy and character you admire," wrote Stephens. "No doubt you’d like to see such a judge on the court. But refusing to cast a vote until next year merely delays her elevation by a few months — assuming, that is, that Trump wins and Republicans retain their Senate majority. This, however, raises a philosophical consideration. If a central conservative complaint about the federal judiciary is that it has arrogated too many powers that ought to be in the hands of the people, how can conservatives justify entrenching their power in the courts in the expectation that they’re unlikely to win at the polls?"

"Senator, it may not have been your destiny to be president," concluded Stephens. "But it’s still yours to show Americans what it means to be courageous by way of sound and independent judgment. Your decision alone won’t make all the difference; three Republican senators would need to join you. But — with your colleagues Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — it will show the way."

Romney has not yet tipped his hand about his position on the Supreme Court vacancy, saying he wants to confer with his colleagues first.

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