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15 Republicans who refused to fill a SCOTUS seat in 2016 but want Trump to do it now

They did not think President Barack Obama should get to pick a Supreme Court justice in an election year.

By Josh Israel - September 21, 2020
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Republican senators who blocked confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s pick to fill an empty Supreme Court seat four years ago, have already indicated they will push to confirm a Supreme Court nominee this year.

At least 15 Republicans who objected to confirming a Democratic president’s nominee in an election year are applying different standards to Donald Trump.

Less than 72 hours after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and more than 20 Senate Republicans are already pushing to rush through her replacement rather than waiting to see who wins the presidential election in November.

Most of those same Republicans backed McConnell’s refusal to even allow a confirmation hearing for Garland in 2016 — even though Justice Antonin Scalia died that February and it meant leaving the seat open for more than a year.

The flip-floppers include:

Lamar Alexander

“No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year,” Alexander (TN) said Sunday in a statement. “The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it.”

John Barrasso

“The president is going to nominate and we’re going to vote this year,” Barrasso (WY) told NBC News on Sunday. “If we did something different now we would be breaking with the precedent that has long been established and if the president and the Senate are of the same party, you move along with confirmation.”

Roy Blunt

“Both the White House and the Senate have some obligation to do what they think in the majority in the Senate is the right thing to do,” Blunt (MO) told CBS News on Sunday, “and there is a Senate majority put there by voters for reasons like this.”

Tom Cotton

“The Senate will do its constitutional duty. We will process the president’s nomination for SCOTUS and conduct thorough and deliberate hearings,” Cotton (AR) tweeted on Sunday. “We will move forward without delay.”

Ted Cruz

“I believe that the president should next week nominate a successor to the court, and I think it is critical that the Senate takes up and confirms that successor before Election Day,” Cruz (TX) said Friday. “This nomination is why Donald Trump was elected. This confirmation is why the voters voted for a Republican majority in the Senate.”

Steve Daines

“We now face a clear choice. President Trump will nominate a well-qualified justice who will uphold our Constitution and protect our freedoms. The type of justice Montanans want on the Supreme Court,” Daines (MT) tweeted on Saturday. “I believe the Senate should move forward with confirming President Trump’s nominee.”

Lindsey Graham

Graham (SC) tweeted Saturday: “I will support President @realDonaldTrump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”

Ron Johnson

“We had divided government (in 2016). That’s a valid argument when you have divided government, (to say) ‘Let’s let the American people decide.’ Right now, we don’t have divided government,” Johnson (WI) said in an interview with a local newspaper on Saturday. “That makes all the difference in the world.”

Mitch McConnell

“Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary,” McConnell (KY) said in a statement on Friday. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

Jerry Moran

A spokesperson for Moran (KS) told a local paper Moran “agrees with Leader McConnell’s decision” to move forward with confirmation of a Trump nominee.

Rob Portman

“When the presidency and the Senate are controlled by the same party, the precedent is for the president’s nominees to get confirmed,” Portman (OH) said in a statement on Saturday. “I look forward to seeing who President Trump plans to nominate and thoroughly assessing his or her qualifications for this important role.”

Richard Shelby

“In the days ahead, I look forward to a solid conservative candidate being nominated and an expeditious confirmation process,” Shelby (AL) said in a statement on Saturday.

John Thune

“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,” Thune (SD) said Friday. “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.”

Thom Tillis

Tillis (NC) said in a statement on Saturday: “Four years ago, a Supreme Court vacancy arose under divided government and a lame-duck president as Americans were choosing his successor. Today, however, President Trump is again facing voters at the ballot box and North Carolinians will ultimately render their judgment on his presidency and how he chooses to fill the vacancy.”

Roger Wicker

“President Trump and Senate Republicans promised to confirm well-qualified, conservative judges and justices to the federal courts,” Wicker (MS) said on Saturday in a statement. “We should continue to fulfill this promise and our constitutional duty for all vacancies as long as we are in office. I look forward to consideration of the President’s nominee by the full Senate.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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