Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy says it will be 'awfully difficult' for the GOP to slow-walk Biden's Supreme Court pick
- A top Democratic senator says Republicans will struggle to obstruct Biden's expected Supreme Court pick to replace Justice Breyer.
- "I think it's going to be awfully difficult for the Republicans, after setting that precedent, to stretch things out," Leahy told CNN.
- An unnamed Senate Democratic aide previously told The Washington Post that the GOP may try to delay the confirmation process.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, said on Thursday that Republicans will be hard-pressed to find a way to stifle President Joe Biden's expected Supreme Court pick given the GOP's own record in confirming President Donald Trump's final nominee Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
"Mitch McConnell has declared these things have to be done very quickly, as we saw during the last nominee," Leahy, the longest-serving senator, told CNN . "I think it's going to be awfully difficult for the Republicans, after setting that precedent, to stretch things out."
Justice Stephen Breyer is expected to soon announce that he will retire at the end of the court's current term, opening up a seat for Biden. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday that the chamber will move with "all deliberate speed" once a nominee is named. DC Circuit Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is viewed as the presumptive favorite, but others like California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and South Carolina federal judge J. Michelle Childs are also in the running. The White House has confirmed Biden will follow his campaign promise and name a Black woman to replace Breyer.
Sen. Dick Durbin, the chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee, the panel that oversees Supreme Court nominations, told reporters that "it's little early to predict a timetable" for Biden's nomination. As chairman, Durbin would be the one to formally schedule the hearing.
"We're in the process," Durbin told reporters on Thursday, per CNN's Manu Raju , about what White House chief of staff Ron Klain told him when asked if the president had a name already.
Leahy, who is also a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is correct in pointing out that McConnell and Republicans worked quickly to confirm Barrett.
There were only 27 days from the announcement of Barrett's nomination to her confirmation, one of the quickest timelines in recent memory . The shortest confirmation on record remains Justice John Paul Stevens who was confirmed in just 19 days in 1975, a nod to an era when Supreme Court confirmations didn't spawn the heady political battles that often follow nowadays.
Sen. Susan Collins, who has previously supported some of Biden's possible selections, said on Wednesday after the news broke of Breyer's possible retirement that she would like to see a slower confirmation than what Barrett received. Collins opposed Barrett's nomination saying at the time that the winner of the 2020 presidential election should have had the right to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat.
"As you know, I felt that the timetable for the last nominee was too compressed. This time there is no need for any rush. We can take our time. Have hearings, go through the process, which is a very important one. It is a lifetime appointment, after all," Collins told reporters in Maine.
McConnell and Senate Republicans ended the Senate filibuster for Supreme Court nominees to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch, meaning that a new justice could be confirmed on a strictly party-line vote. A 50-50 Senate, which currently exists, has never dealt with a Supreme Court nomination before.
"As to his replacement: If all Democrats hang together – which I expect they will – they have the power to replace Justice Breyer in 2022 without one Republican vote in support," Sen. Lindsey Graham, a former Judiciary Committee Chairman himself, said in a statement on Wednesday . "Elections have consequences, and that is most evident when it comes to fulfilling vacancies on the Supreme Court."
Some have speculated that even without the filibuster, Republicans could still try to gum up the works. An unnamed Senate aide told The Washington Post that the GOP could try to force delays in committee hearings or meetings. McConnell, for his part, led the GOP's unprecedented decision to hold a Supreme Court vacancy for months, refusing to allow Judge Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama's nominee, to even receive a confirmation hearing.Read the original article on Business Insider