McConnell couldn’t have scripted it better. This opening not only concerns his favorite issue but may also be a lifeline to his most vulnerable members, who he needs to win so he can maintain his position as Majority Leader. Read the statement he issued last night to members. He explicitly asked senators to not speak on the issue and “keep their powder dry” and explained that Supreme Court nominees have “either been confirmed, rejected, or withdrawn within an average of 25 days from the nomination’s arrival in the Senate.” That’s his timeline. And, there are 45 days until the election.
What do you think McConnell would most like to spend the last stretch of the election calendar talking about? The failed Coronavirus response? Trump’s tweets? Or judges? This isn’t even a question.
McConnell risks all this by waiting until after the election to confirm a judge in a lame-duck session. All the incentives are aligned for McConnell and Trump to act now. Pushing this fight past the election only risks confirming a judge nominated by a President who was just rejected by the voters by senators who have been voted out of office. A Democratic Congress may think about impeaching that judge, rather than let him or her serve out his or her term.