Mitch McConnell said on Monday it’s “highly unlikely” he’d allow President Joe Biden to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2024 if he were Senate Majority Leader, once again stirring liberals’ fears about the composition of the country’s highest court and the importance of next year’s midterm elections.
“I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled. So I think it’s highly unlikely,” McConnell told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt. “I don’t think either party, if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election.”
In the fall of 2020, McConnell rushed to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, muscling through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett in late October by a vote of 52-48.
In defending that decision, he said, “What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president.”
McConnell even left open the option of keeping a Supreme Court seat vacant in 2023 if Republicans take back the Senate majority in the 2022 midterm elections.
“We’d have to wait and see what happens,” he told Hewitt.