McConnell Signals Senate Will Vote on Supreme Court Nominee Before Election

October 2, 2020 Updated: October 3, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday said that he plans to hold the Supreme Court confirmation vote immediately after Judge Amy Coney Barrett clears the committee vetting process, signaling that the Senate is on track to confirm the nominee before the election on Nov. 3.

“I’m planning on moving to the nomination as soon as it comes out of committee,” McConnell said at a press conference in Georgetown, Kentucky, in response to a question on whether the vote will take place before Election Day.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled its first confirmation hearing for Barrett for Oct. 12. Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said he will hold the vote on the nominee on Oct. 22, which means the Senate will have 11 days to hold a vote before the general election.

Shortly after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell said he planned to hold a confirmation vote on a replacement, but did not specify whether the vote would take place before or after the election.

McConnell made the remarks on the day that President Donald Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the coronavirus.

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President Donald Trump walks with First Lady Melania Trump at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 29, 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Two senators on the Judiciary Committee, Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), also tested positive for the virus, which emerged from Wuhan, China, last year. Given the 14-day quarantine timeline, both are expected to return in time before the committee’s vote on Oct. 22.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday said it would be dangerous to hold hearings on the confirmation considering the recent diagnoses of Tillis and Lee.

“We now have two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have tested positive for COVID, and there may be more. I wish my colleagues well,” Schumer wrote on Twitter. “It is irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so.”

McConnell rejected any possibility of a delay.

“We’ve been operating in the same environment now since the 1st of May and been able to do Senate business. There’s no reason why we can’t continue to do that,” McConnell said.

McConnell wrote on Twitter earlier on Friday that he has spoken to Trump about Barrett after the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

“He’s in good spirits and we talked business—especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett. Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve,” McConnell wrote.

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