McConnell plans to fill two key circuit court seats even if Trump loses

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats livid over GOP's COVID-19 attacks on Biden US could default within weeks absent action on debt limit: analysis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE (R-Ky.) says he will fill two key circuit court vacancies after the elections, even if President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE loses and there’s a Democratic takeover of government.

The leader's assertion makes clear that judicial confirmations will be a high priority, regardless of the election results.

“We’re going to run through the tape. We go through the end of the year, and so does the president. We’re going to fill the 7th Circuit, and I’m hoping we have time to fill the 1st Circuit as well,” McConnell told conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt.

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“And we are, by the way, confirming a district judge as soon as we get back after the election, and we’re going to clean the plate, clean all the district judges off as well,” McConnell said.

The appellate court vacancies were created by Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettWhat's that you smell in the Supreme Court? Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Supreme Court weighs abortion restrictions The Memo: Trump's justices look set to restrict abortion MORE’s confirmation to the Supreme Court earlier this week and the recent death of 1st Circuit Court Judge Juan Torruella, the first and only Puerto Rican to serve on the 1st Circuit. 

There are currently 55 U.S. district court vacancies and 33 nominees pending.

McConnell told Hewitt that he didn’t have any second thoughts about speeding Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court before the elections after liberal Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg Women of Leadership Award given to Queen Elizabeth What's that you smell in the Supreme Court? The Memo: Trump's justices look set to restrict abortion MORE died in September. 

“If the shoe had been on the other foot, I’m pretty confident that they would have acted in the same way. What we did was entirely consistent with history and tradition. I’m proud of what we did,” he said.

McConnell on Monday set up the Senate to consider James Knepp II’s nomination to serve on the Northern District of Ohio when lawmakers return to the Capitol on Nov. 9.