McConnell Refuses to Commit to Hearings for SCOTUS Picks Before '24 Election Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 07 April 2022 02:00 PM
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday refused to commit to holding Supreme Court nomination hearings before the 2024 presidential election if he's majority leader following this year's midterms, Axios reported.
McConnell, speaking with Axios’ Jonathan Swan, said he would not "put the cart before the horse" and declined to discuss "hypotheticals." The leader did add that he would expect President Joe Biden to turn moderate if Republicans retake both chambers of Congress in November.
"What I can tell you for sure, if House and Senate are Republican next year, the president will finally be the moderate he campaigned as," McConnell told Jonathan Swan.
As Senate majority leader in 2016, McConnell declined to consider Merrick Garland’s nomination by then-President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy left by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
McConnell argued that the future of the high court seat was for the American people to decide, given that it was a presidential election year and the White House and Senate were controlled by different parties.
The Senate minority leader last year said that the GOP would block a Supreme Court nominee in 2024 if Republicans take back the chamber.
"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 said in June 2021, The Hill reported.
"What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president."
In 2020, the Senate confirmed then-President Donald Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had died.
Swan also asked McConnell whether he felt comfortable with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas deciding cases that concern the 2020 election despite wife Ginni's pro-Trump activism.
"Justice Thomas has had a 30-year distinguished career on the Supreme Court and nobody's questioned his standards his ethics," McConnell told Swan.
"The Supreme Court itself decides when it's appropriate to recuse. I have total confidence, not only in Justice Thomas but the other Supreme Court justices to make the decision themselves as to when they should recuse from a case."
McConnell added that that "spouses are not members of Congress."