President Trump will move within days to nominate his third Supreme Court justice in just three-plus short years — and shape the court for literally decades to come, top Republican sources tell Axios.
Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans are ready to move to confirm Trump's nominee before Election Day, just 46 days away, setting up one of the most consequential periods of our lifetimes, the sources say.
- "Oh, we'd fill it,” McConnell said last year when asked what he'd do if a justice died in 2020.
Why it matters: We know Trump's list of potential nominees, we know the process, and we fully know the politics set to explode. Republicans, assuming they stay united as they have through thick and thin, hold all the cards.
- A Democrat involved in the machinations tells us: "[U]ltimately if their caucus hangs together, you can't block them."
- Within moments of the news breaking, a top Democrat texted: "Catastrophe."
Between the lines: The Senate Republicans' precedent of stonewalling Merrick Garland, after he was nominated by President Obama in 2016 — and the reported desire of Justice Ginsburg to be replaced only after a new president is installed — will do nothing to slow or sway Trump or McConnell, the sources tell us.
- A Republican close to the White House told Axios that if Trump and McConnell didn't move before the election, "the Republican base will revolt, sit home."
- The confirmation vote would be tight. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told the N.Y. Times' Jonathan Martin earlier this month that she wouldn't seat a Supreme Court justice in October: "I think that’s too close, I really do."