McConnell aiming to confirm Brett Kavanaugh by October

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled he is aiming for the Senate to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by October.

“The timetable typically for recent Supreme Court justices, if we stuck to that timetable and I intend to, would give us an opportunity to get this new justice on the court by the first of October,” McConnell said in Kentucky on Friday.

He also anticipates that confirmation hearings will begin “in late August or early September,” and predicted that there’s “only a fairly small number of people who are genuinely undecided” and will determine how to vote following the hearings.

McConnell’s comments come after the White House encouraged the Senate earlier this week to confirm Kavanaugh in the next 66 days, which falls in the middle of September.

“The last two Supreme Court confirmations occurred in 66 days,” principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Tuesday.

He subsequently told reporters, “We think that’s a good benchmark.”

Kavanaugh will need a simple majority to be confirmed, which McConnell believes will happen. A total of 50 votes will be needed to confirm Kavanaugh in the event that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., remains in Arizona where he is battling brain cancer.

Kavanaugh is the second Supreme Court justice President Trump has nominated. Neil Gorsuch was Trump’s first pick; he was confirmed to the seat left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

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