Washington — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that if Republicans take control of the Senate in 2022, the new GOP majority would likely block a Supreme Court nominee from President Biden if a vacancy were to arise in 2024, and possibly in 2023 as well.

"I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled," the Kentucky Republican said in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt. "So I think it's highly unlikely — in fact, no, I don't think either party if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election."

McConnell and the GOP-controlled Senate blocked the confirmation of Merrick Garland, then President Barack Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, citing the proximity to the presidential election. But in 2020, after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Republican-controlled Senate confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett just days before Election Day.

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