Justice Stephen Breyer’s upcoming retirement has been announced, though Breyer says that he did not intend for the information to be released at this point. Of course, this led directly into speculation on who President Joe Biden would nominate to take his seat on the Supreme Court — and whether the nomination would go through.
In 2016, President Barack Obama, in the last year of his second term, nominated Merrick Garland to take the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. Mitch McConnell, then the Senate Majority Leader, fought to block the nomination from even receiving a vote, claiming that it was inappropriate to allow an exiting President to seat a Justice, and that the people would decide with their vote.
Despite that, when a similar situation arose in 2020, with the election only weeks away, McConnell’s sentiment changed, and he helped Trump ram through a nominee, confirming Amy Comey Barrett to the bench with only 8 days remaining before election day.
Since then, Biden has taken office, and Democrats hold both the House and (nominally) the Senate, but liberals have found themselves disappointed that legislation still doesn’t pass, thanks to the filibuster and two more-conservative Democrats who aren’t supporting parts of Biden’s agenda.
Now, the question is whether those two — Kirstyn Sinema and Joe Manchin — will support a SCOTUS nominee.
Manchin gave this a non-answer on Twitter Wednesday, saying that he looks forward to meeting and evaluating the qualifications of a nominee.
I take my Constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on a nominee to the Supreme Court very seriously. I look forward to meeting with and evaluating the qualifications of President Biden’s nominee to fill this Supreme Court vacancy.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) January 26, 2022
So far the Biden Administration has refrained from any official statement, including listing potential nominees.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com