Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that the Senate would confirm a new Supreme Court Justice during the 2020 election if a vacancy became available.
While speaking at a luncheon Tuesday, McConnell — the senior senator from Kentucky — was asked what the Senate would do if a vacancy in the Supreme Court opened up during the 2020 presidential election.
McConnell fired back, quipping, “Oh, we’d fill it,” a comment that drew some laughs from the crowd.
The Senate majority leader continued on to say that “the reason he started” with the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominees for judges was because the “lifetime appointment” of a person to a judicial position cannot be undone like policy can when a different party takes power.
“The reason I started with the judges — as important as all the other things are that we’re talking about — if you want to have a long-lasting positive impact on the country, everything else changes. I remember during the tax bill, there were people agonizing over whether one part of the tax bill was permanent or not.
I said: ‘Look, the only way the tax bill is permanent, depends upon the next election. The next election. Because people have different views about the taxes in the two parties and approach it differently when they get in power.”
Watch the video here:
"Oh, we'd fill it." pic.twitter.com/ymTj44ZPBr
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) May 29, 2019
“What can’t be undone is a lifetime appointment to a young man or woman who believes in the quaint notion that the job of the judge is to follow the law,” continued McConnell. “That’s the most important thing for the country, which cannot be undone.”
McConnell’s announcement, however, puts him at odds with the previous position he took on confirming Supreme Court justices during election years during the Obama administration when he blocked the vote to confirm D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland to our nation’s highest court.
He defended his stance on the issue while speaking with Fox News last year, saying that the situations were not similar because Republicans now control both the White House and the Senate while in 2016, the Democrats only controlled the White House.
McConnell proclaimed that one would have “to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a Senate controlled by a party different from the president filled a vacancy on the Supreme Court that was created in the middle of a presidential election year.”
As IJR previously reported, the Senate majority leader viewed the blocking of Garland’s Supreme Court nomination as “the most consequential decision” of his career in public office.