Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings are expected next month, with a final vote in October at the latest, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Wednesday.
Grassley’s forecast that hearings on President Donald Trump’s nominee will slip until next month gives the GOP a narrow window in which to meet their goal of getting Kavanaugh confirmed and seated on the high court by the time its term starts in early October.
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Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, has warned that Democratic attempts to delay the process would only force the minority’s vulnerable red-state incumbents to stay in session longer — and off the campaign trail — in order to get Kavanaugh approved sometime in October before the midterm elections.
The Judiciary chairman told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday that “maybe a week from now I can be more specific,” but Kavanaugh’s hearings would take place “sometime during September.” The Senate is set to be on recess next week.
The GOP has requested a massive trove of records from Kavanaugh’s time in the George W. Bush White House counsel’s office but has rejected Democratic demands to also see documents from Kavanaugh’s service as Bush’s staff secretary.
Grassley said there could be two or three days of hearings on Kavanaugh, reiterating that it would be “ideal” to finish the process entirely by Oct. 1. But he also noted that it would take “probably two weeks” to finish a committee vote after the conservative D.C. Circuit Court judge answers the committee’s full battery of questions.
Once the Judiciary panel approves Kavanaugh, Grassley said, the nomination can get to the Senate floor “probably within two days.”
Pressed about whether Kavanaugh’s hearings could be moved up to later this month, when the Senate currently is scheduled to stay in session for the final two weeks, Grassley said that he “wouldn’t say no at this point” but predicted hearings would take place next month.