Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Monday that President Trump’s Supreme Court pick will get a vote in his chamber this year, saying there is plenty of time to confirm the nominee before the election.
There are 43 days before Nov. 3. The late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed in 42 days, once the Senate received the official nomination. Similarly, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed in 33 days and the late Justice John Paul Stevens was confirmed in only 19 days.
“This Senate will vote on this nomination this year,” the Kentucky Republican said on the chamber floor. “The Senate has more than sufficient time to process a nomination. History and precedent make that perfectly clear.”
He said Senate Democrats tried to obstruct the confirmations of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh before, so he suspects they will try a third time.
“Now they appear readying a more appalling sequel,” he said.
The majority leader pushed back against criticism over his handling of the Supreme Court vacancy in 2016 when he refused to process President Obama’s pick before the election.
He declared after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016 that the Senate hadn’t processed a high court nominee for the president of the opposite party in an election year for roughly 100 years.
But Mr. Trump is of the same party as the majority in the Senate, making this election year different, Mr. McConnell reasoned.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, though, said Justice Ginsburg’s death leaves reproductive health for women hanging in the balance and questioned if workers’ rights and gay rights could be at stake if Mr. Trump gets a third Supreme Court pick on the high court.
The New York Democrat said the Republicans have “no right” to fill the seat and noted there has never been a high court vacancy confirmed this close to a presidential election.
“To hear Leader McConnell up on the floor trying to defend this, pathetic,” Mr. Schumer said.