Oct 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Picture of Mitch McConnell giving a thumbs up

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.

The big picture: Democrats have warned that Barrett's confirmation process has destroyed Republicans' credibility, and some have threatened to retaliate by expanding the Supreme Court if they take the White House and Senate.

  • "[T]he next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ahead of Barrett's confirmation vote on Monday.
  • "You may win this vote, but in the process, you will speed the precipitous decline of faith in our institution, our politics, the Senate and the Supreme Court."

What he's saying: McConnell argued that a judicial appointment is more helpful for Republicans in the long term than the passing of legislation.

  • "Permanency depends on the next election. So that’s the way legislation goes," McConnell told Politico. "But in judicial appointments you can have a longer-lasting positive impact.”
  • “In terms of the politics of it, I think it was helpful for us in 2016 and 2018, and it is clearly, I think, a plus in 2020 as well," McConnell said, referencing Republicans' ability to campaign on filling Supreme Court vacancies with conservatives. "So: good for the country and good for us politically as well."

Go deeper: Amy Coney Barrett's immediate impact

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