McConnell signals he’s open to confirming Supreme Court pick in lame duck

Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled on Thursday night that he’s open to confirming President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee during an end-of-year lame-duck session. 

“Well this Republican Senate was elected for a term that ends in January of next year. The president was elected for a four year term that ends January 20th of next year. There are no reduced constitutional prerogatives during either of our tenures,” McConnell told Fox News, when asked about the potential of confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s pick, during a post-election session. 

Senate Republicans appear set, absent an eleventh-hour setback, to confirm Barrett to the court before the Nov. 3 election, with the Judiciary Committee expected to vote to send her nomination to the floor on Oct. 22. 

But McConnell has only said publicly that Trump’s nominee will get a vote this year and reiterated on Thursday night that he had not yet decided when to hold a vote on the floor. 

He added that he would make a decision on “when to go forward” after the Judiciary Committee’s vote. Because Republicans hold a 12-10 majority on the panel, if all Republicans support her nomination they would be able to send it to the full Senate without Democratic support. 

If Barrett is confirmed before Nov. 3, her confirmation will set a record for the closest to a presidential election that a Supreme Court nominee has been confirmed. Though other picks have been confirmed in a fewer number of days, those were farther away from the presidential election. 

Waiting until the lame-duck session to try to confirm Barrett would carry risks for Republicans, with the Senate GOP fighting to hold onto its majority and Trump trailing Democratic nominee Joe Biden in a slew of polls. 

Trying to force a vote in the lame-duck would make GOP senators, some of whom are trailing in their races and could lose, decide if they will confirm a nomination even if voters strip them of the majority or Trump of the White House. 

McConnell added on Thursday that he views the Supreme Court fight as a boost to Senate Republicans. GOP senators have confirmed Trump’s judicial nominees at a dizzying pace and the Supreme Court, in particular, fires up the party’s base. 

“The pending nomination I think is a big asset,” McConnell told Fox News. “I think it’s an asset in my state and an asset in many, many states.”

Tags Barrett Supreme Court nomination Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Donald Trump election year Supreme Court vacancy Joe Biden Mitch McConnell

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