We are accustomed, in our current era, to somewhat lengthy confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justices. But these are in no way required by the Constitution, which merely says the Senate has the power to advise and consent on Supreme Court nominees. Formal hearings weren’t even conducted until the nomination of Louis Brandeis in 1916. And no nominee appeared before the Senate in person until Felix Frankfurter in 1939, who chose to appear to fight anti-immigrant slurs against his character…

If we do see a vacancy on the court in the next few months, Senate Democrats would be sure to pull out every procedural barrier they can dream up. The trouble is that, with a Senate majority, McConnell could block any maneuver, including a filibuster. The only question would be whether 51 senators would be prepared to get on board with a rushed confirmation. The usual handful of “moderate” Republicans would be called on by Democrats to exercise discretion and good judgment. It seems unlikely that such begging would succeed.

If any Supreme Court vacancy should occur after the November election, and should Trump lose that vote, the Democrats could argue that to allow him to name a new justice would go against the will of the people. But that argument would be moral and political, not legal. The president remains the president until the next president is sworn into office. Lame duck Senators are still Senators in the eyes of the law.