Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority chief, has already vowed that the Senate will vote on President Trump’s Supreme Courtroom nominee by the tip of the 12 months, although he has not made clear whether or not that may occur earlier than Election Day, Nov. 3.
Now that Mr. Trump has introduced his choice of Choose Amy Coney Barrett for the courtroom’s open seat, what comes subsequent? Listed here are a number of the essential questions to find out the way it will play out.
What occurs subsequent? Choose Barrett should reply an elaborate questionnaire, which the Senate will look at. She’ll additionally start calling and assembly with senators as they scrub her background and authorized writings.
The 22 members of the Judiciary Committee, which is led by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a staunch Trump ally, will maintain affirmation hearings for 4 consecutive days starting Oct. 12. That’s significantly sooner than latest Supreme Courtroom nominations, reducing the time to arrange for the hearings by about two-thirds.
After the hearings, the committee will vote on whether or not to suggest the nomination to the total Senate, a gathering Republicans have tentatively scheduled for Oct. 22. If that schedule holds, the total Senate would vote on whether or not to substantiate Choose Barrett the ultimate week of October, only a week earlier than Election Day.
Does Mr. McConnell have the votes to substantiate a nominee? It seems so.
As a result of Republicans maintain a 53 to 47 majority, Democrats would wish 4 Republican senators to affix them in opposition to sink Choose Barrett.
Two Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, had stated they opposed filling the seat till voters determine the presidency. Ms. Collins has stood by that view, warning that she is not going to vote to substantiate Mr. Trump’s nominee earlier than Election Day, interval. Ms. Murkowski now seems extra open to doing so, however as a vocal proponent of abortion rights, she is anticipated to look warily on Choose Barrett.
All 51 different Republicans thus far seem like content material with the nominee, and given their eagerness to fill the emptiness with a conservative and the tight timetable, they will be hesitant to interrupt with their occasion leaders.
Can Democrats block Trump’s nominee by way of a filibuster? No.
Democrats eradicated the 60-vote threshold for many judicial nominees in 2013, pissed off by Republicans’ use of the filibuster to gradual and impede President Barack Obama’s agenda. In flip, angered by resistance to the nomination of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch in 2017, Republicans abolished the limitation on Supreme Courtroom nominees.
Consequently, Mr. McConnell might carry the nomination to the Senate ground and approve it with a easy majority vote.
What impact will the election have on the emptiness? For a lot of Republican senators up for re-election this 12 months, the best state of affairs is likely to be to start the affirmation course of shortly, injecting it into the political bloodstream and energizing conservative voters, however ready till after Election Day — when susceptible incumbents not have to fret about being forged out by indignant impartial and liberal voters — to carry a affirmation vote.
What if Republicans lose the White Home, the Senate or each? May they nonetheless verify Mr. Trump’s nominee after the election? Sure.
Congress usually reconvenes after Election Day for a lame-duck session, when lawmakers act on unfinished enterprise earlier than adjourning for the 12 months. Because the newly elected members wouldn’t be seated till the brand new Congress convened in January, Republicans would stay accountable for the Senate even when they’d misplaced their majority.
Equally, if he had been to lose on Election Day, Mr. Trump would stay president till Joseph R. Biden Jr. assumed workplace in January.