Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been planning ahead for the possibility that a Democrat wins the 2020 presidential election by urging Republican-nominated federal judges who are considering retirement to do so now so that their seats can be filled by conservative candidates in the event that Republicans lose control over the Senate and the White House, The New York Times reported Monday. Mike Davis, the founder of a group that advocates for Trump’s judicial nominees called the Article III Project, told the Times that “we have to hope for the best and plan for the worst,” referring to Trump’s re-election. At least 90 Republican-nominated judges are eligible to claim senior status this year and give up their seats to candidates while they still hear cases, according to the Article III Project.
“I’d point you back to his long-running mantra of ‘leave no vacancy behind,’” said David Popp, McConnell’s spokesman. Trump, working with McConnell, has prioritized the filling of vacant federal court seats with conservative judges. He has appointed more than 50 appellate court judges over the past three years since becoming president.