Senate Democrats eye rapid confirmation process for Biden’s SCOTUS pick

Amid news of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s upcoming retirement, President Joe Biden now finds himself in the process of vetting potential replacements, but because of the razor-thin advantage his party has in the Senate, allied lawmakers are acutely aware that time is indeed of the essence in order to ensure their chosen candidate’s success, as the Washington Examiner notes.

With a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats in the upper chamber, a tie – if one were to occur over a judicial nominee – would have to be broken by Vice President Kamala Harris in what would be a procedural anomaly that has never before occurred in this context.

As such, the timeline for moving the process along is something Democrats surely wish to hasten, since if just one of their legislative colleagues left office – whether by choice or due to unpredictable force of nature – the scenario becomes all the more fraught, and the chances of failure increase.

Last week, when Breyer finally confirmed rumors of his impending departure from the court, he also indicated his intention to remain on the bench through the end of the current term, meaning he will be in place until late June, or perhaps early July.

With that in the background, Biden has already indicated that he plans to announce his selection to replace Breyer on the high court before the end of February, paving the way for confirmation proceedings to begin and, presumably, speed the process as much as possible so as to thwart any unforeseen obstacles.

Perhaps further easing liberals’ minds is the fact that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), known for playing the spoiler when it comes to well-laid Democrat plans, expressed on Monday his interest in taking quick action to confirm Breyer’s successor, according to The Hill.

“I think that basically, especially if it’s somebody who’s already been vetted – that we put on one of the benches before, [federal] circuit or district – that’ll make it go even quicker. But, you know, we just we have to fill the seat…and I’m anxious to get that done,” Manchin revealed.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has also indicated his commitment to overseeing “a fair process that moves quickly so that we can confirm President Biden’s nominee to fill Justice Breyer’s seat as soon as possible,” in further evidence that the party is focused on making this process a fait accompli with all imaginable speed.

Though it is wise for them to expect the unexpected and prepare for all eventualities, Democrats can, regrettably, probably rest easy that Biden’s pick will sail through confirmation with relative ease, given the strong chances of lockstep voting within their own ranks and the well-known deference certain Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), afford to a president’s right to select judicial nominees, factors likely to provide a comfortable cushion of votes.