Law & the Courts

Democrats Rip McConnell for Promising to Fill Potential SCOTUS Vacancy in 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 7, 2019. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Democrats blasted Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday for promising that the GOP would confirm President Trump’s third nominee to the Supreme Court should a vacancy arise in 2020.

“Oh, we’d fill it,” the Kentucky Republican said in response to a question about the matter from a guest at the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Luncheon in Kentucky.

Democrats responded with outrage, citing McConnell’s refusal to consider former president Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat in 2016. McConnell said at the time that he would not grant a hearing or vote on Garland’s nomination because it was a presidential election year, saying voters should decide whether a Democratic or Republican president filled the seat.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer called McConnell’s admission “no surprise.”

“Seriously it’s no surprise. McConnell lives for GOP judges because he knows the GOP agenda is so radical & unpopular they can only achieve it in courts,” the New York senator wrote on Twitter.

“Senator McConnell is a hypocrite,” Schumer added. “Anyone who believes he’d ever allow confirmation of a Dem President’s nominee for SCOTUS is fooling themselves.”

Representative Eric Swalwell, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, painted a bleak picture of McConnell’s intentions.

“In Mitch McConnell’s version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Smith is primaried and the boys never get their campsite,” the California congressman said, referring to the classic movie.

Fellow Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro called McConnell “hypocritical” and “shameless” for “stealing” a seat on the Court, adding that he “won’t hesitate to make a recess appointment to the Court if the Senate refuses to consider my nominee.”

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