Politics 'Wait and see': A GOP-controlled Senate might not fill a 2023 Supreme Court vacancy
Biden's pick for appeals court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, clears Senate hurdle despite GOP opposition
One of President Biden's first judicial nominees for an appeals court is being closely watched for the possibility of a future Supreme Court nomination.Despite opposition from some Republicans, the Senate agreed 52-46 to cut off debate on the appeals court nomination of U.S. District Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, meaning her confirmation for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is all but assured.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he may not allow the Senate to vote on a Supreme Court nominee a full 18 months before the 2024 election if he is the majority leader and a high court vacancy occurs.
McConnell, appearing on Hugh Hewitt's radio show Monday, hedged when Hewitt suggested that a Republican majority might be willing to bring up a Democratic high court nominee in mid-2023 if President Joe Biden selects “a normal, mainstream liberal.”
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” the Kentucky Republican said.
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As for a 2024 Supreme Court vacancy under a GOP-controlled Senate, forget it, McConnell said.
McConnell told Hewitt that “it’s highly unlikely” a 2024 Supreme Court vacancy would be filled, just as it was left vacant in 2016 when McConnell blocked consideration of then-President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly.
“In fact, no, I don’t think either party … if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,” McConnell said.
McConnell infuriated Democrats by not only rejecting Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Scalia in 2016, but later by allowing a vote on former President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett just days before the November 2020 election.
McConnell Says 'Highly Unlikely' GOP Majority Selects Biden SCOTUS Pick in 2024 As Liberals Push Breyer Retirement
"Well, we'd have to wait and see what happens," McConnell said when asked if a GOP-controlled Senate would advance a Biden Supreme Court pick in 2023.Speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said it would be "highly unlikely" that a Republican-led Senate would allow Biden to put a new justice on the high court in 2024—the year the next presidential race will take place.
Democrats said McConnell was using the policy selectively to benefit his own party, but McConnell said it’s a tactic Democrats would also use if the opportunity arose.
“What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president,” McConnell said, explaining Barrett’s confirmation.
Garland is now Biden’s attorney general, and some in the Democratic base are pressuring Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, to retire soon in order to ensure Biden can nominate a replacement and that the Senate is in Democratic hands to ensure confirmation.
The Senate is split 50 to 50, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing Democrats with a bare majority through her tiebreaking vote. Judicial nominees require only 51 votes to win confirmation.
Republicans are vying to win back the majority in the November 2022 election, which would give them control of the Senate floor and empower the party to decide which nominations will get a vote.
McConnell says it's 'highly unlikely' he’d fill Biden SCOTUS vacancy if GOP retakes Senate
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says it would be “highly unlikely” that he’d allow President Biden to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2024 if Republicans were to take control of the chamber. Appearing Monday on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt's show, McConnell was presented with a hypothetical of a Supreme Court vacancy after a GOP victory in the 2022 midterm elections. The scenario was based on what occurred in 2016, following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
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Progressives call on Justice Stephen Breyer to retire amid McConnell's threats to block future Supreme Court nominees .
"For the good of the country, now is the time to step aside," an ad released by 13 progressive groups on Wednesday said.Eighteen legal academics endorsed an ad set to run in the New York Times on Friday, urging the 82-year-old Breyer to step down to avoid a possible scenario in which Republicans win the Senate in 2022 and block future judicial nominees put forth by Biden.