Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the current Senate Minority Leader, enraged Democrats when he prevented an Obama-selected U.S. Supreme Court nominee from moving forward in the confirmation process during the 2016, given that it was an election year. Now, McConnell has likely renewed the rage of the Democrats by stating he will engage in the same prevention in 2024 if Republicans regain control of the Senate in 2022.
McConnell justified his position by noting that Democrats would likely do the same exact thing.
McConnell served as the Senate Majority leader from 2015 to 2021, and he became famous for refusing to allow Merrick Garland to be considered for the Supreme Court in 2016. McConnell argued that since 2016 was an election year, the victor of the 2016 presidential elections should ultimately decide who fills the Supreme Court vacancy.
In 2020, McConnell angered Democrats by enabling the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court’s newest Justice, to move forward just weeks before the presidential elections of 2020. Democrats insisted that McConnell behaved hypocritically, though McConnell retorted that Republicans were in control of both the Senate and the White House in 2020, which had not been the case during 2016.
During an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell remarked that, in the midst of a presidential election, especially when the party of the Senate majority runs contrary to the party of the President, “you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled.”
McConnell noted that he found it “highly unlikely” that any Supreme Court Justice would be confirmed when opposite parties control the Senate and the Presidency, at least not during “the middle of an election.”
McConnell was then asked about whether or not he would consider blocking a Biden-supported nominee to the Supreme Court if he happens to be running the Senate again in 2023, to which he replied it will be necessary to “have to see what happens.”
In total, McConnell has confirmed three U.S. Supreme Court Justices who were all selected by former President Donald. J. Trump. This nominations resulted in transforming the Supreme Court to a 6-3 conservative majority, as well as catalyzing calls from the far left to begin packing the court. Various Democrats desire to expand the Supreme Court in order to add additional justices that they claim will ideologically balance the court.
Currently, the left is pressuring Justice Stephen Breyer, who is 82 years old, to retire as soon as possible in order for Joe Biden to choose his replacement. This movement echoes similar movements under Obama, where Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was pressured to retire in order for Obama to appoint another justice. However, Ginsburg did not retire, and she was ultimately replaced by Trump’s choice, Barrett, in 2020.