The proposed nomination reform statute would function very simply.
In the case of every executive nomination or judicial nomination, which shall have been submitted by the President of the United States to the United States Senate. On or after the 180th day following submission of the nomination to the United States Senate, any rule or precedent of the United States Senate notwithstanding, on the demand of any United States Senator, the United States Senate shall proceed, without debate or any intervening motion or point of order, to final confirmation of the nomination in question. If confirmed, the United States Senate shall immediately notify the President of its action. If not confirmed, the nomination shall be returned to the President as rejected.
If any such vote shall fail for lack of a quorum, the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate shall immediately cause absent Senators to be detained and brought back to the United States Senate and may deputize any United States Marshal, Deputy United States Marshal or any other duly sworn federal law enforcement officer for this purpose. For any Senator absent with the previous excuse of the Senate or absent by reason of sickness or indisposition, in lieu of detention, such Senator shall cause a proxy with his vote to be transmitted to the Senate and such proxy shall be duly voted on the floor of the Senate and shall count towards a quorum. This provision shall override any Senate rule or precedent to the contrary in regards to voting by proxy.
No nomination shall be returned to the President by the Senate, unless it shall have been rejected by the Senate on a final confirmation vote, or upon the expiration of a Congress. (Currently, nominations are returned at the end of the 1st Session of Congress or during a prolonged recess, 30 days or more). There are unlikely to ever again be any Senate recesses, but there is still the matter of the adjournment of the 1st Session of a Congress.
Had this been in force, there would have been a vote on Merrick Garland around the middle of September 2016, Garland having been nominated on March 16, 2016.
Of course, Republicans were in the majority and could have defeated the nomination, but at least there would have been a vote. Frankly, it quite possible that some Republicans might have supported the nomination allowing it to be confirmed, which is why McConnell was so adamant in refusing to let it proceed.
I think this is a fair proposal and benefits both parties equally, as of course it would also apply in the situation of a Republican President and Democratic Senate. Six months is FAR more than enough time to allow.
Note that it would still effectively allow a Senate majority to kill without a vote any nomination coming on or after approximately July 1 of a President’s final year, as the Congress would expire prior to the expiration of the 180 days.
Again, I feel that this is a partisan neutral proposal, as it would work the same for a Democratic President/Republican Senate and for a Republican President/Democratic Senate.