McConnell: Senate will vote on Supreme Court nominee this fall

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocratic senator to party: 'A little message discipline wouldn't kill us' House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power Republican lawyers brush off Trump's election comments MORE (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that the Senate will vote in the fall to confirm President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE's forthcoming nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

"The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by offering advice and consent … We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy’s successor this fall," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

Kennedy announced on Wednesday afternoon that he is retiring after more than 30 years on the court, kicking off what is sure to be a vicious confirmation battle in the lead-up to the midterm elections.

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Trump, who said he spoke with Kennedy for about half an hour at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, told reporters that the search for Kennedy's successor will begin "immediately."

McConnell laid down early guidelines for consideration of the forthcoming nomination, saying while senators would be able to meet with the nominee, he expected Trump's pick to be treated "fairly."

"It's imperative that the president's nominee be considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks," McConnell added.

Democrats will face intense pressure to use every procedural tool to stall and slow-walk Trump's pick.

But Republicans went "nuclear" and got rid of the 60-vote procedural hurdle when they confirmed Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch, meaning Democrats can't block Trump's forthcoming pick without help from Republicans.

Republicans have a slim 51-seat majority. With Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCrenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat Analysis: Biden victory, Democratic sweep would bring biggest boost to economy The Memo: Trump's strengths complicate election picture MORE (R-Ariz.) battling brain cancer, their caucus is effectively capped at 50 votes.

That means Democrats would need to win over at least one GOP senator — as well as keep their caucus united — if they wanted to be able to sink Trump's Supreme Court nominee.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampHarris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle Centrists, progressives rally around Harris pick for VP 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyTrump plans to pick Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg on court Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle Trump meets with potential Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett at White House MORE (Ind.) — who are each up for reelection this year in states won by Trump in 2016 — voted for Gorsuch last year.