“I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled. So I think it’s highly unlikely. In fact, no, I don’t think either party if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election. What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president,” McConnell said on the Hugh Hewitt radio program Monday.
When asked what he would do if his party controlled the Senate and a seat opened up at the end of 2023, McConnell said: “Well, we’d have to wait and see what happens.”
McConnell and Senate Republicans famously refused to consider the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland by then-President Barack Obama in 2016, a presidential election year, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
After former President Donald Trump won the White House and was sworn into office, he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the GOP-controlled Senate confirmed the nomination.
McConnell claims that 2020 was different than 2016 because Republicans had control of the Senate and there was a Republican in the White House, whereas when a vacancy arose in 2016, Obama was president while Republicans held the Senate.
But Senate Republicans rarely made that argument in 2016, instead focusing on making a broader argument that voters should get to decide the direction of the Supreme Court with the country on the verge of electing a new president.
Reflecting on his moves to usher in the confirmation of high court justices while Trump was in office, McConnell told Hewitt on Monday, “I do think the issue that you raised is the single most consequential thing I’ve done in my time as majority leader of the Senate. I preserved the Scalia vacancy, the Gorsuch appointment … and of course we had very little time left when Justice Ginsburg passed away. That took a good deal of priority and skill to get Amy Coney Barrett through. I think we’ll find out what a difference it makes to the American people.”
CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.Checkout latest world news below links :
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