Trump announced his selection of conservative Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday, sparking an outcry from Democrats after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a leader of the court's liberal wing.
Senate Republicans have promised a vote on Barrett, whose appointment would cement a conservative majority on the court, despite refusing to consider a nomination from President Obama nine months before the 2016 election.
Kelly stopped short of saying whether he'd vote against Barrett if he were to win his special election and start his term early. Such a vote has been the subject of widespread speculation since it could narrow the path to approval for an already narrow Republican majority.
While Democrats have blasted Barrett's record on health care, Kelly said her precedents in the U.S. Court of Appeals are beside the point.
“Regardless of the person he nominated, I don’t think this should be done now,” he asserted. "I think it should be in January … after Jan. 20, regardless of who the next president is. It should be that president.”
Nevertheless, Kelly said Barrett's appointment and confirmation would have an effect on Arizonans.
He's married to Gabrielle Giffords, a former U.S. congresswoman who became a gun control advocate after barely surviving a 2011 shooting that killed six people.
Senate Republicans are gearing up for confirmation hearings in two weeks. A vote in the full chamber is now expected before Nov. 3.