Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed his mind about not confirming Supreme Court justices ahead of an election now that Democrats don’t hold the White House and vowed that Republicans would fill a Supreme Court vacancy if it should come up in 2020.
McConnell infamously blocked President Obama from nominating Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court citing a nonexistent unwritten rule that the Senate should not confirm Supreme Court justices in their final year, arguing that voters should decide. The only time the Senate has failed to confirm a nominee during an election year was when a nomination was withdrawn in 1968.
On Tuesday, McConnell had no such qualms about Republicans filling a Supreme Court vacancy, The New York Times reported.
“Should a Supreme Court justice die next year, what will your position be on filling that spot?” McConnell was asked at an event in Paducah, Kentucky.
“Oh, we’d fill it,” he said with a smile.
“Everything else changes,” McConnell said. “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 rule of law. That’s the most important thing we’ve done for the country.”
That’s not what McConnell said in 2016:
In 2016, McConnell argued that “the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
Days later he said, “My view, and I can now confidently say the view shared by virtually everybody in my conference, is that the nomination should be made by the president that the people elect in the election that’s now underway.”
McConnell ripped as a hypocrite:
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer led the charge in labeling McConnell a “hypocrite” after he admitted to having completely different rules for Republicans than Democrats.
Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro wrote that Mr. McConnell’s “shamelessness at stealing a Supreme Court seat is appalling.”
“He’s just a jerk,” former Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said on MSNBC. “How dare he?”