Appearing on on “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” Senator Lindsey Graham said the Senate would work to confirm a SCOTUS nominee if a vacancy arises this year.
“Well, Merrick Garland was a different situation.” Graham told Sustern “You had the president of one party nominating, and you had the Senate in the hands of the other party. A situation where you’ve got them both would be different. I don’t want to speculate, but I think appointing judges is a high priority for me in 2020.”
“If you look into the history of the country, there had not been an occasion where somebody was confirmed in a presidential election year after primary started when you had divided government,” he added.
The Hill reports Senate Republicans have made confirming President Trump’s judicial nominees a top priority, sending his picks to federal judgeships at a record clip, something Trump often touts during his campaign rallies.
Judicial nominations have become a chief partisan issue in the Senate in recent years. Democrats went “nuclear” to scrap the 60-vote filibuster for most judicial picks and all executive nominations, with Republicans nixing the same rule for Supreme Court picks in 2017.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has largely steered the GOP’s efforts to confirm judges, has also said the Senate would consider nominations to the Supreme Court this year.
“As soon as we get back in session, we’ll start confirming judges again. We need to have hearings, and we need to confirm judges. … The pandemic will not prevent us from achieving that goal,” McConnell said last month. “My motto for the year is leave no vacancy behind. That hasn’t changed.”