First, he blocked President Barack Obama’s appointment of now-Attorney General Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court following his death in 2016. Then, in a stunning and very on-brand act of political piracy, he fast-tracked the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, to fill the seat held by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last September of pancreatic cancer.
And so it should come as no surprise that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday that if Republicans regain a Senate majority in the 2022 midterms, he would hold a hypothetical Supreme Court vacancy hostage in 2024 because it is a presidential election year.
“The court and the Constitution would be in quicksand up to its neck if you had not taken the position you took five years ago and we do not have the court that we do today, where we’re looking forward and not in fear at decisions this year and next,” Hewitt said to McConnell.
“I do think the issue you raised is the single most consequential thing that I’ve done in my time as majority leader in the Senate,” McConnell boastfully replied.
“Would the rule that you applied in 2016 to the Scalia vacancy apply in 2024 to any vacancy that occurred?” Hewitt asked.
“Well, I think if in the middle of a presidential election, you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to the last time a vacancy was filled,” McConnell said. “I think it’s highly unlikely — in fact, no, I don’t think either party if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.