SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts

Mitch McConnell is going to win (again)

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell makes the case for the Senate voting on President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, six weeks before the presidential election, despite blocking Obama's nominee in March of 2016 because it was too close to the election.

Posted: Sep 22, 2020 10:11 AM
Updated: Sep 22, 2020 10:11 AM

We won't even know who President Donald Trump's pick to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court will be until late this week, but we know now for (almost) certain that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has the votes to confirm the pick to the court.

The last 72 hours have made that much clear. On Tuesday morning, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney announced that he supports a vote on Trump's nominee. "I intend to follow the Constitution and precedent in considering the President's nominee," he said in a statement. "If the nominee reaches the Senate floor, I intend to vote based upon their qualifications."

Romney's decision comes two days after retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander announced that he supported a vote on Trump's eventual nominee before the election, eliminating perhaps the single most likely GOPer to join Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine in opposition to confirming a Supreme Court justice this close to a presidential election. Then, on Monday, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who is an underdog for a second term this November, said that he too backed a vote before the election. As did Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa who had, in the past, expressed significant reservations about trying to confirm a justice in the waning days of an election.

And with those critical dominoes, any experienced vote-counter can see the writing on the wall: This nomination is going to go through -- and McConnell is going to win.

Here's why. McConnell can afford to lose three Republican senators and still have the 50 votes he needs to end debate on the eventual nominee (aka invoke cloture) and confirm the person to the court. (The change in filibuster rules, which was begun by then-Senate Majority Harry Reid in 2013 for appeals court judges, opened this Pandora's box.)

Murkowski and Collins are two. McConnell actually could have afforded to lose Romney's vote and still get the nominee through. Now that he has Romney in the fold, McConnell has even more wiggle room -- although he's not likely to need it.

Yes, it's never over until it's over. And yes, there is a group of senators who haven't announced their positions on the confirmation vote -- most notably retiring Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts. Roberts, like Alexander, is a seen as part of the Republican old guard and someone who might worry about the precedent being set by trying to push a nominee through so close to an election. And without a reelection race ever again to worry about, Roberts can act on his conscience.

But with Romney and Alexander now backing McConnell, it's extremely hard to believe that Roberts would come out in opposition to the vote -- knowing that it wouldn't change anything. A Roberts "no" on the eventual nominee still would leave McConnell with 50 "yes" votes -- and the nominee would be confirmed. Why charge at that windmill if you are Roberts, a lifelong conservative with little interest in making news at the end of his career?

Like him or hate him, you have to hand it to McConnell. He has, again, proven that he commands the almost total loyalty of his GOP conference. As McConnell did with the contentious Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed by a 50-48 vote, he has demonstrated that when the pressure is on, he is able to line up votes like very few leaders before him.

Barring some sort of major development to derail the process -- if, say, Trump went off script and picked someone seen as far too extreme -- McConnell is going to have played the critical role in confirming three Supreme Court justices over the last four years and fundamentally altering the ideological makeup of the court for decades to come. And that's not even considering the hundreds -- literally -- of federal judges below the Supreme Court level that Trump has nominated and McConnell has confirmed through the Senate.

"You know what Mitch's biggest thing is in the whole world? His judges," Trump told Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in December 2019. "He will absolutely ask me, please let's get the judge approved instead of 10 ambassadors."

And now, with the near-certain confirmation of fully one third of the court over the last four years, McConnell's legacy is complete. He will go down as one of the most consequential Senate leaders in modern history, overseeing a massive ideological overhaul of the judiciary branch from the bottom all the way to the top. And there's not a damn thing Democrats can do about it.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 391099

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60298839
Washington41981395
Marion39886506
Clackamas32773378
Lane30113355
Jackson24880360
Deschutes23557185
Umatilla15126180
Linn14637179
Douglas13375291
Josephine10148244
Yamhill9762143
Klamath9053146
Polk8212100
Benton609738
Malheur592487
Coos5664106
Columbia430455
Jefferson420266
Lincoln362152
Union338755
Crook334056
Wasco316146
Clatsop261835
Baker219833
Tillamook216645
Hood River213737
Morrow197525
Curry191939
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105416
Wallowa75713
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5083462

Reported Deaths: 74473
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152713227166
San Diego4069274335
Riverside3876785358
San Bernardino3745435962
Orange3343985725
Sacramento1683542443
Kern1576621804
Fresno1567952254
Santa Clara1520891925
Alameda1251761504
San Joaquin1075591834
Ventura1040031190
Contra Costa1037721046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare860871096
San Francisco56909669
San Mateo56320629
Monterey52488626
Solano47671357
Santa Barbara47293549
Merced45053667
Sonoma43168412
Placer42141470
Imperial38477773
Kings35206363
San Luis Obispo31476359
Madera26194311
Shasta26081451
Butte25455314
Santa Cruz22248224
Yolo21558257
Marin18465249
El Dorado18301166
Sutter14571186
Napa13420104
Yuba1076089
Tehama10275130
Humboldt10158119
Nevada10019105
Mendocino857197
Lassen796756
San Benito781578
Tuolumne773090
Lake7043110
Amador577366
Siskiyou474755
Glenn457436
Calaveras441588
Del Norte375542
Colusa325220
Inyo256646
Plumas19367
Mono18784
Mariposa160018
Trinity99717
Modoc7655
Unassigned3220
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 43°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 54°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 43°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 43°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 36°
Stagnant and dry weather continue all week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events