Mitch McConnell continues to revel in his role as Washington’s foremost obstructionist.
The Kentucky senator and current Senate Minority Leader indicated Monday that if Republicans regain control of the Senate in next year’s midterms, he would block an attempt by President Biden to fill a Supreme Court seat in 2024.
“I think it’s highly unlikely — in fact, no, I don’t think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,” McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt when asked if a GOP-controlled Senate would take the same tack in 2024 that it did in 2016, when it blocked then-President Obama’s efforts to get Merrick Garland on the bench.
You can listen to the clip below:
Of course, McConnell didn’t follow his own standards by leading the charge to have Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s SC seat in October of 2020, at a time when early voting was already occurring in the presidential election. That move, which gave the court a 6-3 conservative majority, generated outcry from Democrats accusing McConnell of hypocrisy. But McConnell is used to such criticism and deflects it with carefully-worded statements.
He and other Republicans defended their strategy to rush Coney Barrett’s confirmation — the closest SC confirmation that has ever occurred before an election – by noting that during the roadblock of Garland’s nomination in 2016, there was a split in which party controlled the Senate and the White House. That was not the case in 2020, when both were controlled by Republicans.
During his interview with Hewitt, McConnell was also asked if a GOP-controlled Senate would entertain a Biden Supreme Court nominee in 2023. His answer?
His lack of interest in showing any inclination toward any sort of productive engagement with the White House is further proof of the immense power McConnell continues to wield, even in a Democrat-led Senate. Carefully managing the power of the 60-vote filibuster, he sunk the bill calling for a Jan. 6 Insurrection commission, and stalled Democratic efforts at voting reform.
NBC’s Sahil Kapur noted on Twitter that the wily Kentucky lawmaker’s strategy seems predicated on the idea that he simply doesn’t expect his colleagues across the aisle to challenge him.