McConnell on Hugh Hewitt

‘My motto for the year is leave no vacancy behind. That includes district courts as well. And so we’re a long way from being finished with doing court confirmations this year.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined Hugh Hewitt this morning to discuss impeachment and judges. See below for excerpts and you can listen to portions of the interview here.

On judges:

“We’re going to do the 51st Circuit judge in the Senate today. And at the district judge level, you know, the Democratic senators still have some pull. So the administration’s trying to work out some kind of compromise deal, because at the district court level in the Senate, we still, you know, the Democratic senators still have some say in all of that.”

“You know, we’ve focused, I have, since I don’t try to tell the Judiciary Committee how to run their business, I basically have focused on the Circuit judges where we do not allow the Democratic senators to veto with the so-called blue slip that you probably discussed with your audiences before.”

“But the good news is we’ve changed the 9th Circuit in a dramatic way, as you know, and it’s no longer you know, the far left court that it used to be.”

“My motto for the year is ‘leave no vacancy behind.’ That includes district courts as well. And so we’re a long way from being finished with doing court confirmations this year.”

“I think the right of center world cares a great deal about the courts. They’ve seen activist judges and what they tend to do for many years, and that’s why I think that the decision that I made to leave the Scalia vacancy open until we knew the outcome of the election was widely applauded on the right. It had a lot to do with President Trump’s solidifying the Republican vote. Many Republicans at that particular point were skeptical about him, wondered what he’d be like. And I think that reassured them, helped him win the election. And he didn’t blow the opportunity. Neil Gorsuch has been outstanding, and Brett Kavanaugh as well.”

On impeachment:

“Well, I think impeachment worked for the Democrats sort of like it did for us back when we impeached Clinton. Clinton’s approval rating went up, and ours went down. And it’s no accident that President Trump is sitting on the best numbers he’s had since he was sworn in. It happened to coincide with their effort to impeach him….So I think we can safely say in the short term, for sure, that impeachment was a loser for them and a winner for us.”

“I think there’s no question Elizabeth Warren was trying to get the Supreme Court, to get the Chief Justice in the middle of this political maelstrom we were having in the Senate called a trial. And the Chief Justice, of course, did not want to do that. No chief justice would be very pleased to be presiding over a trial in a political body like that, even though the Constitution requires it. And I think that the Chief Justice did a good job of staying out of it.”