Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) told Hugh Hewitt on Thursday that confirming President Donald Trump's judicial picks is a top priority for him.
When asked by Hewitt if he anticipated a vacancy for the Supreme Court this summer, McConnell couldn't say. There has been speculation that at least one of the justices may retire this year, which would make for the second Supreme Court vacancy to be filled by Trump.
"I really don't know. But I'm grateful that you've had an interested in this because I think you, Hugh, have told your listeners from time to time, this is my top priority in the Senate," McConnell said. "Of course, I love the tax bill–I think the tax bill will make an important difference for the country–but when the winds, the political winds shift, we never leave taxes alone. When we did comprehensive tax reform 30 years ago, it lasted four years."
McConnell said his focus, therefore, is on measures that are lasting, such as confirming conservative judges to the courts.
"What I want to do is make a lasting contribution to the country, and by appointing and confirming these strict constructionists to the courts, who are in their late 40s or early 50s, I believe working in conjunction with the administration, we are making a generational change in our country that will be repeated over and over and over down through the years," McConnell said.
Hewitt discussed the number of judges nominated by Trump that have already been confirmed, comparing it to the lower numbers of his predecessors. McConnell said in response that more confirmations will come and the Senate will keep processing the nominations until the end of the year.
"We're going to continue to confirm judges all year. The Congress doesn't stop with the elections. It goes until the end of the year," McConnell said. "We're going to do six more next week, which will bring us to 21. I'm processing them as quickly as they come out of the Judiciary Committee, and the administration is sending them up rapidly."
McConnell said he wants all the circuit and district court judges that are approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee to be confirmed by the Senate before the end of the year.