Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News Thursday that he would fill a Supreme Court vacancy if it opened up this year, despite it being an election year.

Why it matters: Antonin Scalia died on this day in 2016. McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings or a vote that year on President Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, arguing that that the Senate and presidency belonged to different parties and that the vacancy shouldn't be filled until the next president is inaugurated.

  • McConnell later called the move "most consequential thing" thing he has ever done and among his proudest moments.
  • The vacancy ultimately fell into the hands of President Trump, who appointed Neil Gorsuch.

What they're saying: McConnell argued that it would be appropriate to fill a Supreme Court vacancy this year because both the president and the Senate belong to the same party.

  • "If you're asking me a hypothetical about whether this Republican Senate would confirm a member of the Supreme Court due to a vacancy created this year — yeah, we would fill it."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
21 mins ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.