Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reversed his position on the Senate confirming Supreme Court justices in a year before an election, saying that a hypothetical vacancy would be filled in 2020.
McConnell made the remarks while speaking at a Chamber of Commerce event in Kentucky on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.
The Senate majority leader was asked what Republicans would do if a justice died next year—an election year.
In response, McConnell said, “Oh, we’d fill it.”
In 2016, McConnell blocked Supreme Court justice nominee Merrick Garland, who was chosen by former President Barack Obama to fill a vacant seat, from getting a hearing, believing that the next president should fill the seat.
A spokesperson for McConnell told CNN that he sees a difference between filling a Supreme Court seat in 2016–ahead of a presidential election–and hypothetically doing so in 2020–also ahead of a presidential election.
The spokesperson told the news outlet that the difference is that in 2016 Democrats controlled the White House and Republicans controlled the Senate, but in any possible 2020 vacancy, Republicans would control both.
McConnell’s reversal on his Supreme Court vacancy beliefs riled up Democrats on Twitter.
|￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣￣ |— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 29, 2019
| Senator McConnell. |
| is a |
| hypocrite. |
| ＿＿＿＿＿_＿＿＿_ |
Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat from President Obama in 2016.— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) May 29, 2019
Mitch McConnell just admitted it.
John Roberts is the Chief Justice.
But it’s really the McConnell Court.
And it has ZERO CREDIBILITY. https://t.co/07WgJEGYTu
Several 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls also weighed in.
Mitch McConnell is not a man on the verge of an epiphany to work with Democrats. It’s time to end the filibuster. https://t.co/uQ0WUDnafc— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) May 29, 2019