McConnell open to Supreme Court nomination in 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (R-Ky.) said in a new interview that he may be willing to consider a Supreme Court nominee during the final year of President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE's first term. 

“We’ll see if there is a vacancy in 2020,” McConnell said after Brett Kavanaugh was officially confirmed as the newest Supreme Court justice, according to The Associated Press.

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats, who have criticized the majority leader over his actions during President Obama's final year in office, may seize on McConnell's comment. 

Obama nominated Judge Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandAppeals court clears way for Congress to seek Trump financial records Divisive docket to test Supreme Court ahead of 2020 Majority disapprove of Trump Supreme Court nominations, says poll MORE to the Supreme Court in 2016 to replace the late Justice Anthony Scalia died. But McConnell delayed Garland's nomination, with the senator asserting that a justice shouldn't be confirmed to the bench during an election year. 

McConnell argued that a Senate case in 1880 suggested such a move from the upper chamber only was necessary when it was controlled by a party opposing the president, the AP noted. 

McConnell also said that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans had reached a "low point" during the Kavanaugh confirmation process. 

But he insisted to the AP that the Senate was "not broken" and that Democrats deserved much of the blame for the partisan divide. 

“We didn’t attack Merrick Garland’s background and try to destroy him," McConnell said, before adding, “We simply followed the tradition of America.” 

Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday after a contentious confirmation process. In late September, he and Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Ford's claims that he sexually assaulted her at a high school party in the 1980's. 

Kavanaugh has fiercely denied Ford's allegations as well as sexual misconduct accusations from two other women, Julie Swetnick and Deborah Ramirez. 

Kavanaugh's presence on the bench gives conservatives a 5-4 majority in the court.