Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.) indicated Thursday that Senate Republicans could hold a vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court after the Nov. 3 general election.
Answering a question from Fox News’ Brett Baier, McConnell said there were no constitutional barriers to confirming a Supreme Court nominee during a lame duck session of Congress between the election and the inauguration of the new Congress in January.
“Well, this Republican Senate was elected for a term that ends in January of next year. The president was elected for a four-year term that ends Jan. 20 of next year,” McConnell said.
“There are no reduced constitutional prerogatives during either of our tenures and in fact, Brett, you will remember two years ago when my party actually gained two seats in the Senate while we were losing the House, the biggest issue in the campaign was a Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.”
McConnell said he has not decided when the confirmation vote on Barrett’s nomination will take place.
“I haven’t decided when the vote would occur on the floor, but we do anticipate Judge Barrett coming out of committee on Oct. 22,” McConnell said. “I think that’s a pretty likely outcome and then we’ll decide when to go forward.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett on Oct. 12. An aide to the committee told Reuters Friday the nomination will proceed “full steam ahead.”
McConnell said the hearings will give the American people “an opportunity to get to meet and know Judge Barrett.”
“We were calling each other hypocrites before, what we need to see is the nominee. And we’ll have an opportunity to do that over the next few weeks,” McConnell said. “She’s spectacular, an incredible life’s story, wonderful family — five kids, two adopted kids, one special needs kid. And one of her professors at Notre Dame wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post recently saying she was the single most brilliant student he’d ever had in all of his years teaching law at Notre Dame.”
McConnell also said he will make Barrett a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
“The pending nomination I think is a big asset,” he said. “I’m happy to put this nominee front and center in my campaign. I’m happy to tell voters of Kentucky my opponent would oppose this outstanding nominee. I support her. I think it’s an asset in my state and an asset in many, many states around the country.”