Trump's last gasp could be a SCOTUS justice in January

Senate rules experts doubt that McConnell could attempt to force through a SCOTUS nominee in 17 days or less, citing a number of Senate procedural roadblocks, such as the requirement that a nomination must “lay over” for one week, and that the nomination must be voted out of the Judiciary Committee before Senate floor consideration.

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“The majority may be deterred from doing what they want by the institution’s inherited rules of procedure,” notes James Wallner, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute and former executive director of the Senate Steering Committee. “A last-minute effort to confirm a Supreme Court nominee would be extraordinary.”

However, any Senate rule can be overridden by a simple Senate majority vote, a procedure that McConnell has aggressively invoked for the Kavanaugh and Gorsuch nominations. And until noon on Jan. 20, Mike Pence can, as president of the Senate, break any tie vote, and give Republicans a continued majority status to conduct committee business. Senate precedence has given vice presidents a wide berth to exercise that vote.

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