In the wake of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled that he would put a nominee up for a vote even as Election Day draws near.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), however, wasted no time announcing his adamant disapproval of such a vote during the upcoming lame-duck session, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
“A voice in the selection”
He issued the statement a short time after news broke of Ginsburg’s death on Friday.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” Schumer declared. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
Of course, he had made similar statements about a possible Supreme Court vacancy even before Ginsburg succumbed to her latest cancer battle.
In addition to McConnell, President Donald Trump has also signaled that he is prepared to nominate a replacement. He sent that message in a tweet on Saturday.
“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices,” the president wrote. “We have this obligation, without delay!”
“We kept our promise”
The GOP’s position against voting on then-President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia after his death in 2016, however, has led to allegations of hypocrisy by many Democrats.
McConnell has already addressed such criticism, though, arguing that the circumstances are not as similar as they might appear, according to Fox News.
“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term,” he said. “We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”
Obama himself weighed in, insisting that “we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”
Consistency has not always been a forte of the modern Democratic Party, though, and party leaders are sure to try any trick in the book to stop Trump’s nominee from being confirmed. Only time will tell if they will ultimately succeed.