At a luncheon Tuesday in Paducah Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republicans will make sure that if a Supreme Court vacancy opens up, it will be filled. Even if it happens in the middle of the 2020 presidential election, The Hill reports.
During his speech at the Paducah Chamber luncheon, an audience member asked him what his thoughts were on filling a Supreme Court seat if a justice died during the election.
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“Oh, we’d fill it,” McConnell said as the audience laughed.
That’s a big departure from his 2016 efforts to keep Merrick Garland, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, from filling the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, CNN reports.
During this time McConnell maintained voters participating in the presidential election should have the right to choose whether a Democrat or a Republican should fill the vacancy. That move angered the Democrats.
But now confirming judicial nominees has become a top priority for the Senate GOP leader, so that Republicans have a shot at having a long-term impact. Because the Republicans now have 53 seats, it gives them a chance to nominate a Republican, despite objections by the Democrats.
And McConnell spokesman David Popp seemed to confirm this by noting that the difference between 2019 and 2016 when McConnell (who was also Senate Majority Leader at the time) prevented Garland from becoming a Supreme Court Justice, is that Democrats controlled the White House, while the Senate was controlled by a Republican, CNN reported.
At the luncheon, McConnell told attendees a judicial overhaul is important for a “long-lasting positive impact,” because “everything else changes.”
“I remember during the tax bill, people were agonizing over whether one part of the tax bill was permanent or not. I said ‘Look, the only way the tax bill is permanent depends on the next election,” he said. “Because people have different views about taxes in the two parties and they approach it differently when they get in power.”
McConnell contrasted that with the long-term effects of lifetime appointments.
“What can’t be undone is a lifetime appointment to a young man or woman who believes in the quaint notion that the job of the judge is to follow the law,” he said. “That’s the most important thing we’ve done in the country, which cannot be undone.”
Right now there are three justices aged 70 or older. Liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer are 86 and 80, respectively, while conservative justice Clarence Thomas is 70. Conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh are the youngest, at 51 and 54 respectively.
McConnell’s comments Tuesday drew ire from Democrats, especially Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who called McConnell a “hypocrite” on Twitter.
| Senator McConnell. |
| is a |
| hypocrite. |
| ＿＿＿＿＿_＿＿＿_ |
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 29, 2019
McConnell began hinting last October that Republicans may choose a Supreme Court justice nominated by Trump, as the video below shows. It also shows what a hypocrite he is. Let’s hope Republicans face plenty of opposition if they do attempt to nominate someone. After all the fuss they gave Obama it’s what they deserve.
Featured image courtesy of the video above