Senate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report

Greg Nash

Senate Republicans are eyeing a confirmation vote in late October for President Trump’s eventual Supreme Court nominee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not made any scheduling announcements since saying last week that he would work to confirm a potential pick from the White House, but a Senate aide told The Associated Press that confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee could begin on Oct. 12, followed by a possible floor vote on Oct. 29.

The Washington Post later reported that hearings could start on Oct. 12 and that a confirmation vote cold be held before the end of the month.

A spokesperson for McConnell declined to comment on a possible Oct. 29 vote and instead pointed to remarks the GOP leader made earlier Tuesday that plans for a hearing are still being crafted.

“As we all know, the president is going to be sending up a nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy later this week. I anticipate, we all anticipate, it’s going to be an extremely well-qualified woman, and with regard to the schedule, after that announcement, Chairman Lindsey Graham [R-S.C.] will lay out the plan for handling the nomination before the Judiciary Committee,” McConnell said. 

Spokespeople for Graham said there were no new scheduling announcements for a possible confirmation hearing.

The report comes as McConnell appears to have locked down the votes he needs to ensure there is enough GOP support to confirm Trump’s nominee. Only two Republican senators — Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — have said they oppose confirming a justice so close to a presidential election. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the last of the remaining possible swing votes, confirmed Tuesday he would be open to sending a new jurist to the high court.

Should the rest of the GOP caucus hold together, McConnell will have 51 votes to confirm a nominee.

“I guess we have all the votes we’re going to need,” Trump told WJBX Fox 2 in Detroit. “I think it’s going to happen.”

The president said Tuesday that he intends to name his pick on Saturday. He is known to be considering an array of candidates, but the top two contenders are believed to be Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa, both appeals court judges.

An Oct. 29 vote on a Supreme Court justice would bring what is expected to be a fierce partisan fight to a head just days before final votes are cast on Nov. 3. Both Republicans and Democrats are confident the fight to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had been lionized by liberals for her stances on gender equity and abortion access, will fire up both their bases.

Democrats have panned Republicans after the Senate GOP blocked former President Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, the last presidential election year.

Tags Donald Trump Lindsey Graham Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court of the United States Susan Collins United States Supreme Court vacancy
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