'We could be participating in a process that could undermine that criminal investigation.'
Trump and the Republicans have signaled their intent to ram through a Supreme Court nominee as quickly as they can, but Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) offered a devastating case for waiting until special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is over.
At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday morning, Booker reminded the committee of the McConnell Rule that Republicans invented in 2016,that Republicans invented in 2016, declaring that a Supreme Court nominee cannot be appointed in an election year. But he also offered an even more compelling reason to wait for a vote on a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"[Trump] is a subject of an ongoing criminal investigation — an investigation that every member of this committee knows could end up before the Supreme Court," Booker said. "And we have a president who has, in the past — has seemed to be asking people for loyalty tests, who has seemed to have litmus tests in regard to this investigation."
That, Booker noted, could have significant implications in the process of selecting a Supreme Court nominee.
"And so, if we’re not going to thoroughly discuss what it means to have a president with this ongoing investigation happening who is now going to interview Supreme Court justices, and potentially continue with his tradition of doing litmus tests, loyalty tests, for that person, we could be participating in a process that could undermine that criminal investigation."
Booker noted that Trump has improperly asked for pledges of loyalty on at least three occasions in the past, and could very well do the same during his private interviews with prospective Supreme Court nominees.
Trump reportedly voiced concerns last year about the loyalty of then-nominee Neil Gorsuch, and told aides he thought about rescinding the nomination. For whatever reason, Trump went ahead, and Gorsuch was confirmed.
Republicans stole Gorsuch's seat from President Obama using their completely fabricated McConnell Rule, and for those same senators to go forward with a nominee in an election year is the height of hypocrisy.
But even if it were not an election year, Trump is under investigation. As long as that is the case, senators should not allow him to appoint someone who might ultimately rule on the results of that investigation, especially if Trump himself is ultimately implicated or even indicted.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.