‘Use My Words Against Me’: What Republican Senators Said About Election-Year SCOTUS Picks in 2016 and Now

Within hours of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death Friday evening, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that President Trump’s nominee would get a vote.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) put out a statement as well. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” he tweeted. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

If those words sound familiar, it’s because Schumer was quoting the statement McConnell released on the day Justice Antonin Scalia died. Soon after Scalia’s death was announced Feb. 13, 2016, McConnell said President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee would not advance.

In 2016, many Republicans argued that allowing a vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee during an election year would break historic precedent. They argued that the American people deserved a chance to have their say. Many Republicans referred to comments then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Joe Biden made as President George H.W. Bush prepared for his reelection bid against Democrat Bill Clinton. Biden argued that if a justice resigned before the election, the next president should fill the seat.

“It would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over,” Biden said in June 1992 speech that would be echoed by Republicans in the same chamber 24 years later.

On Feb. 23, 2016, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee — including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas — informed McConnell they would not hold hearings for any Obama nominee. The senators wrote that the American people had “an exceedingly rare opportunity to decide, in a very real and concrete way, the direction the Court will take over the next generation.

“Not since 1932 has the Senate confirmed in a presidential election year a Supreme Court nominee to a vacancy arising in that year,” they wrote in their letter. “And it is necessary to go even further back — to 1888 — in order to find an election year nominee who was nominated and confirmed under divided government, as we have now.”

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Source: Yahoo