The Senate majority leader blocked hearings and a vote on Merrick Garland in 2016, 237 days prior to Election Day.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday cited the nomination process for Justice John Paul Stevens, which occurred 340 days before the 1976 presidential election, as justification for considering a nomination to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg weeks before the 2020 election.
McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor that it was a "myth" that a nomination fewer than 43 days out from an election would not be sufficient time to "examine and confirm" a nominee.
"Justice John Paul Stevens was confirmed by the Senate 19 days after this body formally received his nomination. Nineteen days from start to finish," he said.
But Stevens was not nominated in an election year. He was nominated by President Gerald Ford on Nov. 28, 1975. The presidential election in that cycle did not happen until Nov. 2, 1976, when Ford lost to President Jimmy Carter.
By contrast, McConnell refused to allow hearings or a vote for Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 after Garland was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Barack Obama. Obama nominated Garland on March 16, 2016, which was 237 days prior to Election Day that year.
From the Sept. 21 session of the U.S. Senate:
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL: But today, let's dispense with a few of the factual misrepresentations, right at the outset.
We're already hearing incorrect claims that there is not sufficient time to examine and confirm a nominee. We can debunk this myth in about 30 seconds.
As of today, there are 43 days until November 3rd, and 104 days until the end of this Congress. The late, iconic, Justice John Paul Stevens was confirmed by the Senate 19 days after this body formally received his nomination. 19 days from start to finish.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.