Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s message for the Republican-majority Senate in light of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death Friday is something Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said four years ago: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice.”
Schumer tweeted that Ginsburg’s seat should not be filled until after the election, repeating word for word what the Kentucky Republican had said in light of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016 as the presidential campaign was underway.
McConnell confirmed Friday he has no intention of waiting for the election to confirm whomever Trump puts forward.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said in a statement.
He justified the change in his stance by simply stating that Republicans have maintained a majority in the Senate.
“Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda. particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary.”
Ginsburg died Friday after a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 87. In her final days Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
In February 2016, McConnell said clearly that the Republican-led Senate would not proceed with Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Scalia.
His tune has changed, telling the press that he would move to fill a Supreme Court vacancy if it happened this year. Trump is expected to put forward a nominee quickly.
It’s 46 days before Election Day. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has said she will not vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice before the election. All eyes will be on vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection in the days ahead. It would take four Republican dissensions in the Senate to stop a confirmation.