McConnell digs in on vow to fill Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team McConnell says he made 'inadvertent omission' in voting remarks amid backlash These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (R-Ky.) is digging in ahead of an explosive fight over the Supreme Court seat left vacant after the death of Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgBiden says Roe v. Wade under attack like 'never before' Second gentleman Emhoff acts as public link to White House Former colleagues honor Reid in ceremony at Capitol MORE.

McConnell, during his first remarks from the Senate floor since Ginsburg's death on Friday, argued there was "more than enough time" to confirm President TrumpDonald TrumpHeadaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Stormy Daniels set to testify against former lawyer Avenatti in fraud trial Cheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll MORE's forthcoming nominee before the end of the year and rebuffed charges of hypocrisy from Democrats after Republicans refused to move former President Obama's nominee in 2016.

"The historical precedent is overwhelming, and it runs in one direction. If our Democratic colleagues want to claim they are outraged, they can only be outraged at the plain facts of American history," McConnell said.

ADVERTISEMENT

McConnell, reiterating his remarks from Friday night, vowed that "the Senate will vote on this nomination this year."

The GOP leader declined to respond to questions from reporters off the Senate floor about whether he will push for a vote before the Nov. 3 election, which is only 43 days away.

But during his floor remarks, McConnell highlighted that some previous Supreme Court justices had moved from nomination to confirmation in less time than that.

"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, another iconic jurist, was confirmed 33 days after her nomination. For the late Justice Ginsburg herself, it was just 42 days. Justice [John Paul] Stevens's entire confirmation process could have been played out twice, twice between now and Nov. 3, with time to spare. And Justice Ginsburg herself could have been confirmed twice between now and the end of the year with time to spare," McConnell said.

The Kentucky Republican, who is up for reelection this year, has not tipped his hand on whether he will try to hold a vote before Election Day, something Trump is applying public pressure for the Senate GOP caucus to do.

ADVERTISEMENT

Republicans can lose only three GOP senators and still let Vice President Pence break a tie.

Two Republican senators — Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum Bipartisan lawmakers announce climate adaptation bill MORE (Maine) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Bipartisan lawmakers announce climate adaptation bill MORE (Alaska) — have said they do not believe the upper chamber should move the nomination before the election.

GOP Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team Put partisan politics aside — The Child Tax Credit must be renewed immediately Trump remembers former 'Apprentice' contestant Meat Loaf: 'Great guy' MORE (Utah), Cory GardnerCory GardnerEleven interesting races to watch in 2022 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Gun control group alleges campaign finance violations in lawsuit against NRA MORE (Colo.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySmall ranchers say Biden letting them get squeezed These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Hillicon Valley — Senate panel advances major antitrust bill MORE (Iowa) haven't addressed how they think the Senate should act.

The question over timing is expected to be discussed during a closed-door caucus lunch on Tuesday.

Democrats, who need four GOP senators to side with them to delay a nomination, have fumed over McConnell's pledge to move forward and accused Republicans of hypocrisy. McConnell and the Senate GOP caucus refused to give Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandNewsom vows crackdown: Rail car looting like 'third world country' Tlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer Oath Keeper charges renew attention on Trump orbit MORE, Obama's final Supreme Court nominee, a hearing or a vote in 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT

GOP senators are brushing off those charges, arguing that the key distinction between 2016 and 2020 is that now the White House and the Senate are controlled by the same party.

"Others want to claim the situation is exactly analogous to Justice [Antonin] Scalia's passing in 2016 and so we should not proceed until January. This is also completely false," McConnell said on Monday.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerVoting rights failed in the Senate — where do we go from here? Forced deadline spurs drastic tactic in Congress Democrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans MORE (D-N.Y.) fired back that the GOP rhetoric "doesn't pass the smell test in any way."

"I just heard the remarks of the Republican leader. It's obvious why he is so, so defensive," Schumer added. "What is fair is fair. A senator's word must count for something."