Prepare for civil war.
According to the Washington Examiner:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans would “absolutely” vote on a Supreme Court vacancy if one occurred before the 2020 election, regardless of whether Democrats “whine” about it.
“You have to go back to 1880 to find the last time, back to 1880s to find the last time a Senate of a different party from the president filled a Supreme Court vacancy created in the middle of a presidential election. That was entirely the precedent,” the Kentucky Republican said on The Hugh Hewitt Show Tuesday about why he blocked hearings on Merrick Garland.
“There was nothing I did that was, would not have been done had the shoe been on the other foot,” he added. “So look, they can whine about this all day long. But under the Constitution, there is co-responsibility for appointments. The president makes the nomination, and the Senate confirms. We are partners in the personnel business up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.”
I’m not sure I understand McConnell’s rationale here. The “principle” involved is simply partisan politics.
At the time, he squashed Merrick Garland, I understood the principle to be that the people should decide this in an election year. That made a little sense, but not much. There’s nothing in the Constitution about presidents only being allowed to appoint Supreme Court justices during their first three years. Let’s face it, McConnell did it because he could.
McConnell’s potential decision now to allow consideration of a Supreme Court nominee would be the right thing to do, but it would also prove that the Garland maneuver was raw politics. If I were a liberal, I’d be pretty mad about it too.