McConnell Reminds ‘Values Voters’ that He’s Changing the Courts for a Generation

Highlighting the importance of Religious Right evangelicals to the composition of the Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took time away from strategizing on how to overcome obstacles to the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to remind attendees of the Values Voter Summit, an annual conference sponsored by FRC Action (the political arm of the Family Research Council), of how hard he’s working to shape the federal courts for decades to come.

But to do that, he suggested, Republicans need to prevail in November’s mid-term elections. “If we can hold onto the Senate for the next two years, then we’re going to transform the federal judiciary for a generation,” McConnell said.

He explained that his refusal to let the Senate go out for August recess was to accomplish the confirmation of dozens of federal judges at a record pace.

“You can go back 100 years, and Republicans have only had the House, the Senate and the executive for 20 years,” McConnell explained. “So we were determined not to squander that opportunity.”

The majority leader boasted that “the most consequential action of my entire career” was one in which he “decided not to do something—and that was not to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Scalia… ” The audience was clear on what he meant; he was referring to his obstruction of then-President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. The crowd rose to its feet in applause.

All though he puffed up at his mention of the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the high court, he stopped just short of taking credit all for himself, reminding the Values Voter Summit audience that it was their victory.

But, he said, “Just look at how angry the left is. The angrier they get, the better we’re doing.”

“You were called names. You were mocked because of the way that you voted,” he told the crowd, connecting their votes for Trump to the future of the federal courts.

As for the nomination currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee—that of Brett Kavanaugh, currently roiled by allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were both in high school—McConnell offered assurances to those gathered.

“In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court,” he said.

Responding on Twitter (h/t Sarah Posner), David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network replied, “McConnell better deliver or he and the GOP will be in DEEP political trouble.”