Your briefing on developments in the Supreme Court confirmation battle.
As February wanes, we’re nearing the end of President Joe Biden’s self-imposed timeline to announce his Supreme Court nominee.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates tweeted Tuesday that Biden “looks forward to announcing a nominee this month” and CNN reported Monday that the announcement would come “in the next week.”
The announcement, which Democrats hope will infuse the party with some energy after deflating legislative losses at the hands of two of their own members, will have to be choreographed around growing tensions abroad as Russia menaces Ukraine. The goal is to confirm the nominee before Easter recess, scheduled to start April 11.
Democrats Continue To Chase After Bipartisanship
- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the Washington Post that his first call upon learning of Justice Stephen Breyer’s impending retirement was to ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) … to assure him that he wouldn’t “stab him in the back.”
- “I’m not going to surprise you,” Durbin added. “I’m going to let you know what’s coming so that we can work on it together.”
- Durbin is one of a few Democrats who, for some reason, is seeking bipartisan support of Biden’s nominee. After Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blew up the filibuster in 2017 to confirm Neil Gorsuch, they’ll only need all 50 Democrats to confirm the nominee.
- Where Republicans could potentially cause trouble is in the committee process. The Senate Judiciary Committee is evenly split, meaning they could boycott the hearing like they did last week on a different committee to stall the nomination of Sarah Bloom Raskin to the Fed. Senate Democrats would have to change chamber rules to bypass the lack of committee quorum.
McConnell’s Cool With It
- Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said he had no problem with Biden’s pledge to nominate a Black woman.
- “I heard a couple of people say they thought it was inappropriate for the president to announce he was going to put an African American woman on the court,” he said. “Honestly, I did not think that was inappropriate.”
- Among those people are some Republican senators. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), for one, likened Biden’s promise to affirmative action.