Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was a little upset that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) scheduled the confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor to begin on July 13. McConnell wants to do it in September.
Fair enough, he wants more time to dig for dirt and/or drag it out in order to clog up the calendar and slow down other Democratic agenda items, especially health care overhaul. I don't blame him for wanting to do that, as the minority leader he's expected to try and do things like that. Harry Reid would want the same thing if their shoes were reversed.
But McConnell, never satisfied with just making his case, told a bit of a nose-puller. He said that Sotomayor's proposed nomination timeline would be the shortest in recent memory.
Yes, that's what he said.
They want the shortest confirmation timeline in recent memory for someone with the longest record in recent memory,
Recall that Sotomayor was nominated on May 25. So if her nomination were processed through the committee and voted on all on the same day, July 13, her timeline would be 49 days. But in fact the hearing, committee vote, and then floor debate and vote by the full Senate will take a couple of weeks beyond that, so figure her timeline will actually be about 60 days. However, whether you figure 49 days or about 60 days, if you read further down in the link we find that it would be very typical of what these things seem to take:
• Samuel Alito: 70 days
• John Roberts: Seven days after announced as chief justice replacement; 55 days after initial nomination
• Stephen Breyer: 60 days
• Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 36 days
• Clarence Thomas: 71 days
• David Souter: 52 days
• Anthony Kennedy: 33 days
• Robert Bork: 76 days
• Antonin Scalia: 49 days
• William Rehnquist: 42 days
• Sandra Day O'Connor: 64 days
• John Paul Stevens: 10 days
• Rehnquist (nominated by former President Nixon to replace Associate Justice John Harlan): 13 days
What would be unusually long would be if the Senate did wait until after the August recess and begin the hearing when they return after Labor Day, probably the next day, September 8. If that were the date the hearing began, the timeline would be a minimum of 106 days and more likely close to 120.
Well, if the facts are not on your side, apparently Mitch McConnell thinks the way to fix that problem is to make up some new facts.