Senate Republicans are facing charges of hypocrisy as they mull over whether or not to fill the new vacancy on the Supreme Court that opened up in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death before the election.
Many have noted that in 2016, Senate Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama’s attempt to fill a Supreme Court vacancy due to the upcoming election and the fact that the Senate and White House were controlled by different parties.
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short was pressed on Senate Republicans’ push to fill the seat before the election.
Host Jake Tapper asked, “Is there not a risk that this obvious hypocrisy may cost Republicans in competitive races their seats?”
Short responded, “I rejected the notion there’s hypocrisy. As I’ve said, the historical precedent is that when your party’s in power and the president nominates, consistently going back to George Washington, the party has continued to confirm those nominees. So, I don’t think there’s hypocrisy.”
Instead, he argued, “I think the American people wanted Donald Trump to be in a position to make these nominations, and it’s his obligation to do so.”
However, as Tapper noted, many Republicans were not so nuanced when they argued in 2016 that the Supreme Court vacancy should be held up until after the presidential election.
Watch the video below:
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, discusses President Trump and Republicans attempting to fill the SCOTUS vacancy weeks ahead of an election: “I reject the notion there’s hypocrisy” https://t.co/nuRXOM388J #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/yMpGVTv6SF— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 20, 2020
The Supreme Court announced on Friday that Ginsburg had died of complications from pancreatic cancer, as IJR reported.
Additionally, Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said, “I believe Americans sent a Republican president and a Republican Senate to Washington to ensure we have an impartial judiciary that upholds the Constitution and the rule of law. We will fulfill our obligation to them. As Leader McConnell has said, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate.”
However, the push to confirm a nominee before the election has led Democrats to accuse their Republican colleagues of hypocrisy for appearing to be willing to violate the standard they set in 2016.
McConnell addressed the charge of hypocrisy by noting, “Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.” Republicans currently control the White House and the Senate in contrast to 2016 when there was a Democratic president and Republican-controlled Senate.
Trump has previously said that if a Supreme Court vacancy opened up during an election year, he would “absolutely” move to fill the post.