Sen. Leahy confident Obama's Supreme Court nominee will be confirmed by fall

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEmergency infrastructure needed to keep Americans safe: Public media Kavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Congress is to blame for the latest ruling on DACA MORE’s Supreme Court nominee should be confirmed by the fall, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Monday.

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyNational Guard cancels trainings after Congress fails to reimburse for Capitol riot deployment Democrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation Lawmakers spend more on personal security in wake of insurrection MORE (D-Vt.) expressed confidence that the Senate would confirm a successor to retiring Justice John Paul Stevens before the court begins its October session, which would meet Obama’s deadline.


Leahy, who will oversee hearings for whomever is nominated, said an October confirmation is entirely consistent with recent history.

“It'd be the same time schedule that the Republicans had for John Roberts as chief justice, the Democrats had for Sonia Sotomayor,” Leahy said during an appearance on NBC's “Today” show.

Roberts was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed in 2005, while Sotomayor was Obama’s first nominee. She was confirmed last year.

Republicans have warned they could filibuster a nominee if Obama names someone to the court who leans to far to the left. While Democrats only need a majority vote to win confirmation, they need 60 votes to win procedural motions on the nomination.

The party holds 59 of the Senate’s seats, one fewer than during Sotomayor’s confirmation battle.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGrassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa House Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines MORE (R-Ky.) has promised a "sustained and vigorous" vetting of the eventual nominee's record, while Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (Tenn.) specifically left open the possibility of a filibuster.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDrug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 Financial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted MORE (R-Utah), a veteran member of the judiciary panel, said Monday that the committee's Republicans would be more willing to work to confirm a nominee they view as a non-activist.

“I can say that if the president picks someone who's clearly qualified, I think there's no question we can get that person through in a relatively short period of time,” Hatch said during a joint interview with Leahy on NBC.

“On the other hand, if he picks an activist judge — I don't care if the activist judge is liberal or conservative, we ought to do everything in our power to defeat that person.”

Leahy blamed GOP opposition for what he said were longer and longer confirmation battles on Supreme Court nominees.

He also said he's discussed some of the candidates for the bench with the president, but declined to elaborate on that discussion. The short list is said to include Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Appeals Court Judge Diane Wood, and, according to ABC News Monday morning, former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears.

“The Supreme Court really does count and we should get down and begin work as soon as possible,” Leahy said.

This article was originally posted at 8:38 A.M.

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