Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly wanted Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett nominated immediately — and he said as much the night the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed.
Josh Holmes, who served as McConnell’s chief of staff from 2010-2013, said in the Frontline documentary “Supreme Revenge: Battle for the Court” that McConnell was already pushing Trump to nominate Barrett just hours after the news broke that Ginsburg had died of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
“McConnell said, ‘First, I’m going to put out a statement that says we’re going to fill the vacancy.’ Second, he said, ‘You’ve gotta nominate Amy Coney Barrett,'” Holmes explained.
Barrett marked the third Supreme Court Justice seated by McConnell’s Senate — following Justice Neil Gorsuch, who filled the seat vacated when the late Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in 2016, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who faced an ugly confirmation battle to take the seat Justice Anthony Kennedy left open when he retired in 2018.
Just prior to Barrett’s confirmation hearings, Dean Edwin Chemerinsky of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law explained the impact of McConnell propelling a third justice onto the nation’s highest court.
“Sen. McConnell already has played a huge role in shaping the Supreme Court for decades to come. A third confirmation, especially under these circumstances, would truly make this the McConnell Court for a long time to come,” he said.
Even prior to Barrett’s nomination and quick confirmation, McConnell made it abundantly clear that his focus was on shaping the court for the next generation and beyond. “I saved the Supreme Court for a generation by blocking President Obama’s nominees and led the way for Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh,” he explained in late summer of 2019.
He has routinely tweeted about his accomplishments with regard to judicial appointments.
Nearly one out of every six circuit court of appeals judges has been appointed by @POTUS and confirmed by this Republican Senate
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) October 11, 2018
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) November 7, 2019
When it comes to confirming well-qualified judges, we will leave no vacancy behind. pic.twitter.com/wzHg5QP34Z
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) July 24, 2019
The Senate has confirmed more than 160 new federal judges since January 2017. We’ve confirmed more of @POTUS’s appeals court nominees than any other president has had confirmed at this point in his presidency. And we have eight more on the docket starting next week. pic.twitter.com/wkbivQ35KE
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) November 25, 2019