Hillary Clinton would revive judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court if she is elected president, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.
The Nevada Democrat told reporters on a conference call that he was confident Clinton would move on Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, who President Barack Obama appointed to the Supreme Court in March.
“She can do whatever she wants but I am convinced that she would move forward with Garland,” Reid said. “I would think that she and the people around her would say, ‘Why do we need to draw out the vote here? Let’s get him confirmed quickly and move onto the next one whenever that comes.’”
Asked how sure he was that would happen, and if he had conversations with the Clinton campaign, Reid said, “I can say that with some degree of credibility.”
The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reid had previously encouraged Clinton to re-nominate Garland if the Democratic presidential nominee wins the White House in November. His comments Thursday suggested Clinton could encourage the Senate to act quickly on Garland’s nomination if she is elected.
After Garland was nominated, some Republicans suggested that if Clinton wins, the Senate should move on Garland’s nomination during a lame duck session between the November election and when a new Congress convenes in January. The reasoning is that Garland is viewed as a more moderate jurist compared to who Clinton would be expected to appoint.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has consistently rejected the idea. He has argued that Garland is not moderate, and would be a liberal justice on the Supreme Court.
Clinton said Garland had “considerable experience on the bench and in public service,” and a “brilliant legal mind,” in a statement after Obama selected Garland as his nominee. Obama has said he would not withdraw Garland’s nomination after the November election.
Asked in an April debate if she would ask Obama to withdraw the nomination, Clinton said, “I am not going to contradict the president’s strategy on this. And I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals. I fully support the president.”
Clinton later said, “When I am president, I will take stock of where we are and move from there.”