Senate Leader Mitch McConnell Vows To Fill Any Vacant Supreme Court Seats In 2020 After Blocking Merrick Garland
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said Tuesday that if a Supreme Court justice were to die during the 2020 elections McConnell would still appoint a new justice. With the 53-47 majority that the Republicans hold in the Senate, they would be able to confirm a new justice with relative speed, ensuring that the party’s hold on politics continues on for decades to come.
The hypocrisy in McConnell’s statement is evident when compared to the Republican’s actions in 2016. When Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Democratic Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacant seat. However, the Republican majority in the Senate refused to hold a confirmation hearing or a vote on the new nominee, claiming that it should fall to whoever was elected as president in the 2016 elections. After successfully delaying Garland’s appointment, the GOP was able to fill the empty seat with another conservative justice of their choice. Now, McConnell is claiming that he would do the exact thing that his party opposed three years ago.
With the health of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg constantly striking fear into the hearts of liberals nationwide, McConnell’s claim has legitimacy. President Donald Trump has already appointed two conservative justices to the bench, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. As both men are in their 50s, it is likely that their tenure on the court will continue for decades to come, ensuring a continued conservative presence in the Supreme Court. If Ginsburg were to die before a liberal president was elected and a sixth conservative was appointed to the bench it would have a massive impact on American politics, especially with the country as polarized as it is right now.
The GOP has already focused largely on the appointment of federal judges, attempting to pack courts nationwide with their conservative allies. As the justice system becomes increasingly politicized, with topics like abortion being decided by the courts, it has become more and more essential for parties to put polarized judges in places such as federal circuit courts and appeals courts.