Apr 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McConnell: Senate will confirm more judges as soon as it returns to session

McConnell.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday the Senate will continue confirming President Trump's judicial nominations "as soon as we get back in session" on May 4.

Why it matters: McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.

The big picture: President Trump has successfully appointed 193 judges to the federal bench thus far, including two Supreme Court justices. But the coronavirus pandemic has forced Congress to resort to brief pro forma sessions in recent weeks, stalling confirmation hearings.

  • McConnell said he wants to "leave no vacancies behind" when it comes to the courts, adding that the coronavirus "will not prevent us from achieving that goal."

What he's saying:

"Well, the current plan is to go back in session on May the 4th. I haven’t seen anything that would discourage me from doing that. And as soon as we get back in session, we’ll start confirming judges again. We need to have hearings, and we need to confirm judges. Hugh, you and I have discussed this before. My motto for the year is leave no vacancy behind. That hasn’t changed. The pandemic will not prevent us from achieving that goal."

Worth noting: McConnell told Hewitt he opposed Democrats' attempt to add funding for state and local governments to the interim coronavirus relief bill passed by the Senate Tuesday because he didn't want to "just send a blank check down to states and local governments to spend anyway they choose to."

  • McConnell said that he would be in favor of allowing states to declare bankruptcy rather than receive large federal bailouts.
  • He also warned that lawmakers "haven’t had much discussion about adding $2.7 trillion dollars to the national debt, and the way that could indeed also threaten the future of the country."

Go deeper: McConnell says he would fill Supreme Court vacancy if it opened this year

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