Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted this week he would hold open a vacancy on the Supreme Court preventing President Biden from making a nomination should Republicans take back control of the upper chamber in 2022.
“I don’t think either party if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election. What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president,” the Kentucky Republican told radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier this week.
Mr. McConnell, when he was majority leader of the chamber, prevented former President Obama, a Democrat, from filling a high court seat left open in 2016 by the death of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Once former President Trump took office in 2017, the GOP-led Senate confirmed his nominee, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the bench.
In 2020, after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Republican Senate pushed through Mr. Trump’s nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett days before the November election.
The moves angered progressives, who have called for Democrats, now in the majority in the Senate and under Mr. Biden‘s leadership in the White House, to expand the number of justices in order to counter the 6-3 conservative edge on the Supreme Court. The president created a commission to study that very issue.
The first meeting was held last month and the group is expected to issue a report within 180 days.