The president has yet to name a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but there are growing signs that the Senate could hold confirmation hearings for the nation’s top federal judge for the next two weeks.
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., has been leading the charge for a confirmation hearing, saying that a Supreme Court vacancy would be a “disaster for our country.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold hearings for a pair of nominees for judgeships this week: Judge Michael Slager of South Carolina and Judge John Paul Stevens of Montana.
If Democrats prevail on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would need only 51 votes to confirm the nominees.
Republicans are hoping that a conservative bloc of senators would support the nominees and would block any Democrats who want to confirm Slager, Stevens or any of the other two judges.
McConnell said Wednesday that he has “not ruled out” holding confirmation hearings on all four nominees.
But some Republicans are more cautious, saying they have “serious concerns” about the timing of the hearings.
The White House is also considering holding a confirmation vote on at least one of the three nominees.
Trump has repeatedly said that the Supreme Court would not be confirmed this year, but he has not said whether he intends to make a final decision on the fate of Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Republicans are already signaling they are ready to filibuster the Kennedy nomination if necessary, although they have not indicated how that would play out.
Senators are expected to begin confirming the nominees on Wednesday.
The committee is expected to hold another confirmation hearing in the coming days.