- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2018

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that his top priority in the Senate is confirming judicial appointments.

“We’re going to continue to confirm judges all year,” Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”

Mr. McConnell said the Senate will look to confirm six more federal appeals court appointments next week, bringing their total to 21. He added that he will continue to confirm judges throughout the year regardless of the outcome of the November elections.

“You know, the Congress doesn’t stop with the elections. It goes until the end of the year. We’re going to do six more next week, which will bring us to 21. I’m processing them as quickly as they come out of the Judiciary Committee, and the administration’s sending them up rapidly,” the senator said.

Mr. McConnell added that his goal is to confirm all circuit and district court judges that come out of committee by the end of the year.

“I don’t consider the Congress ending until December 31st. I can only deal with a nomination once they come out of committee,” he said.

Mr. McConnell added that judges make the most lasting impact, even more so than legislation, including the tax bill. He said appointing strict constructionist judges to the bench creates “generational change” at both the circuit and district court level.

“If I have a choice between taking up a particular bill or taking up a circuit court judge, I’d take up a circuit court judge, because I think it makes it the longest lasting contribution to make in this the kind of country it ought to be,” he explained.

Mr. McConnell said that despite Republican’s narrow majority in the Senate they would be able to have a Supreme Court nominee passed if necessary. Justice Anthony Kennedy is reportedly considering retirement after the court’s current term goes on recess in June. The opening would give President Trump his second appointment to the high court after appointing Justice Neil M. Gorsuch in 2017, and Mr. McConnell said it would supersede all other judicial appointments.

“It would go to the front of the line. No question about it. If there is a Supreme Court vacancy, it takes priority. No question about it,” he said.

Mr. McConnell said Democrats would not be able to stop a nominee from making it through the Senate if all Republicans are united.

“No, not if 50 senators are prepared to vote. There’s no way to stop that,” he said.

Mr. Kennedy is considered a centrist conservative who was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan.

• Sally Persons can be reached at spersons@washingtontimes.com.

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