Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellUS could default within weeks absent action on debt limit: analysis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal MORE (R-Ky.) pledged "sustained and vigorous" work by the GOP to press the next nominee to the Supreme Court.

McConnell congratulated Justice John Paul Stevens on his retirement on Friday, but sought to make clear that Senate Republicans wouldn't take any new nomination by President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Politics must accept the reality of multiracial America and disavow racial backlash To empower parents, reinvent schools MORE lying down.


"As we await the president’s nominee to replace Justice Stevens at the end of his term, Americans can expect Senate Republicans to make a sustained and vigorous case for judicial restraint and the fundamental importance of an even-handed reading of the law," McConnell said in a statement.

Stevens announced his retirement on Friday morning after joining the Supreme Court in 1975. The justice, who turns 90 this month, said he'll retire at the end of the court's term.

"Even if Justice Stevens’s liberalism has led to many decisions I oppose, I respect his devotion to the institution and the gentlemanly manner in which he always carried out his work," McConnell said in his statement. "I wish Justice Stevens and his wife, Maryan, all the best in their future endeavors."

Nominees only need a simple majority for confirmation in the Senate -- Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE would break a tie in the case of a 50-50 vote -- though any nominee must be able to gain 60 votes to end debate on his or her nomination.

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If all 59 Democrats stick together, at least one Republican senator would be needed in order to move forward with whoever the Supreme Court nominee is.

Updated at 12:21 p.m.