McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday that he expects the Senate to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination before the court starts its next term.
“The timetable typically for recent Supreme Court justices, if we stuck to that timetable and I intend to, would give us an opportunity to get this new justice on the court by the first of October,” McConnell told reporters in Kentucky on Friday.
The timeline lines up with a similar estimate the GOP leader made late last month before President Trump named Kavanaugh as his pick.
Kavanaugh is making his rounds on Capitol Hill as he works to lock down the simple majority support he’ll need to be confirmed as Justice Anthony Kennedy’s successor on the high court.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) hasn’t said when the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination.
But McConnell predicted on Friday that it will likely take place in late August or early September. The Senate is expected to be in Washington for most of August after McConnell canceled three weeks of the summer recess.
McConnell added that he expects Kavanaugh will be able to win over the simple majority needed to be confirmed. If Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is battling brain cancer at his home in Arizona, doesn’t return for the vote, Kavanaugh would need the backing of 50 senators.
Republicans could confirm Trump’s pick without help from Democrats if the caucus rallies behind Kavanaugh.
But several GOP senators — including Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — remain undecided.
Collins and Murkowski, however, have hinted that Kavanaugh’s confirmation could be smooth, despite strong lobbying over their votes.
Several Democratic senators, including those up for reelection in states won by Trump, also remain on the fence, though McConnell predicted that most members already know how they’re going to vote.
“I think most members who are in the undecided column will wait until the hearing,” he said. “My suspicion is there’s a fairly small number of people who are genuinely undecided.”