Critics were quick to point out that in 2016, Senate Republicans, led by then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blocked then-President Barack Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland to a Supreme Court seat for almost a year. At the time, Republicans claimed that an open court seat could not be filled in an election year.
After Donald Trump won the 2016 election, Garland’s nomination died. Senate Republicans then nixed the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in 2017 to confirm Neil Gorsuch instead, the first of three Trump appointments to the court.
In 2020, when Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died just weeks before the election, Senate Republicans forgot the McConnell Rule about keeping such seats open and rushed to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the court.
Given those very recent events, Cruz’s critics weren’t buying his claim that Republicans hadn’t rigged the system to stack the court: