Could A Supreme Court Nominee Actually Get Confirmed Before The Election?

( Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will push forward with an attempt to confirm President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee before the November 3 presidential election.

But even with a majority in the Senate, will Republicans have enough votes to confirm the nominee in quick succession?

That’s the main question that’s on everyone’s mind following the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday.

In a statement released on Friday, McConnell said:

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

In normal times, a president’s Supreme Court nominee would be confirmed if his political party was in control of the Senate. These are not normal times, though.

There are less than 50 days before the presidential election. So, if the Senate were able to confirm Trump’s nominee before then, it would mark a confirmation process that would be historically fast.

On average, most Supreme Court confirmation processes take about 70 days to complete. Brett Kavanaugh’s took even longer than that.

Republicans currently hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate over Democrats. All that is needed to confirm a Supreme Court justice is 51 votes. What that would mean, essentially is that four Republicans would have to vote against the nominee — along with all Democrats — for the confirmation to fail.

If a 50-50 tie occurs, Vice President Mike Pence would break the tie. While prominent Republican Senators such as Ted Cruz said it would be a “constitutional crisis” if a Supreme Court nominee weren’t confirmed before the November 3 election, other Republicans have said they didn’t want to hold a confirmation vote that soon.

So far, Republicans Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have both said they wouldn’t vote to confirm any Supreme Court nominee before the presidential election.

But that might not be enough to stop it from happening.

The Supreme Court’s next term begins October 5, and two major cases are due to be heard later in the year. On November 10, the court is set to hear California v. Texas, which is another challenge to Obamacare.

On December 2, the court will hear arguments over whether grand jury documents from Robert Mueller’s investigation have to be turned over to Congress from the Department of Justice.

If a 4-4 tie vote occurs in these cases — or any — before a replacement for Ginsburg is confirmed, then the Supreme Court has two choices. It can either let stand the lower courts’ rulings without setting a precedent. Or, it could reschedule the case for the Supreme Court’s next term.

This is one of the main reasons why Trump and Republicans are hoping to quickly confirm Ginsburg’s replacement. As Cruz said on Friday:

“We cannot have Election Day come and go with a 4-4 court. A 4-4 court that is equally divided cannot decide anything. And I think we risk a constitutional crisis if we do not have a nine-justice Supreme Court, particularly when there is such a risk of a contested election.”