The next day, Mr. McConnell began a concerted push for Justice Barrett, whom he had seen since the spring as the next nominee and now considered the best candidate to move through on an expedited timeline. Despite White House interest in others, such as Judge Barbara Lagoa in Florida and Judge Allison Jones Rushing in North Carolina, Mr. McConnell was insistent on Justice Barrett, arguing that she was a known figure because of her previous confirmation for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and that she was very popular in conservative legal circles. Mr. McConnell secured a commitment that he would have another chance to make the case for Justice Barrett should the president favor another candidate.
Mr. McConnell wanted a vote before the election because of concern that holding off until after the balloting — while it could potentially energize Republican voters — might also make confirmation more precarious if his party lost the Senate or White House.
“I wanted to make sure we had enough time to fit the average time from nomination to confirmation, so that we could deal with the argument that we were somehow outside the realm of how these nominations have been handled in the past,” he said.
Despite the animus from Democrats and their allies, Mr. McConnell said he did not expect the rushed confirmation to significantly influence the election. And while he said he was worried about potential changes by Democrats in retaliation — such as gutting the filibuster and adding seats to the court — he said they were being contemplated even before Justice Barrett was considered.
“They don’t need any more provocation about what they were threatening to do already,” Mr. McConnell said.
Whatever happens, his mark on the judiciary was, he said, “the single most important accomplishment of my career. I’m proud of it, and I feel good about it.”
Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/27/us/mcconnell-barrett-confirmation.html