McConnell Could Stop Biden From Replacing Justice Stephen Breyer Due To ‘Little-Noticed Backroom Deal’: Report

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can reportedly stop Democrat President Joe Biden from being able to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer should Breyer indeed decide to retire as expected.

With judicial nominees, only 51 votes are needed to confirm a nominee, commonly referred to as the “nuclear option.” In a 50-50 tied Senate, Democrats will likely need all their Senators to vote for the nominee and then would need Vice President Kamala Harris to be the tie-breaking vote.

“But the nuclear option can go into motion only if the Judiciary Committee reports the nomination to the floor, a procedural move that says whether a majority on the committee recommends the full Senate consider the pick,” TIME Magazine reported. “Well, in a little-noticed backroom deal that took more than a month to hammer out, McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed to a power-sharing plan in February that splits committee membership, staffs and budgets in half.”

“If all 11 Republican members of the Judiciary Committee oppose Biden’s pick and all 11 Democrats back her, the nomination goes inert. The nomination doesn’t die, but it does get parked until a lawmaker—historically, the Leader of the party—brings it to the floor for four hours of debate,” the report added. “A majority of the Senate—51 votes, typically—can then put debate about the issue on the calendar for the next day. But that’s the last easy part. When the potential pick comes to the floor again, it’s not as a nomination. At that point, it’s a motion to discharge, a cloture motion that requires 60 votes. In other words, 10 Republicans would have to resurrect the nomination of someone already blocked in the Judiciary Committee.”

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