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McConnell: 'We'd Fill' Any Supreme Court Vacancy in 2020

Mitch Mc Connell discusses potential 2020 SCOTUS nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has changed his tune on whether the Senate should fill a Supreme Court seat during an election year, The Hill reports.

Speaking in his home state of Kentucky on Tuesday, McConnell was asked what he would do about a high court vacancy if a seat were to open up next year.

Sen. Majority leader Mitch McConnell says he'd fill a potential Supreme Court vacancy in 2020.

In February, 2016, McConnell, a Republican, enraged Democrats by refusing to consider then-President Barack Obama's choice of federal Judge Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

"History will record McConnell as the true villain of some of the ugliest moments in this period of USA history", said Susan Hennessey, the executive editor of the Lawfare blog, in a tweet.

McConnell spokesperson David Popp said that the Kentucky Republican is being consistent since he took care in 2016 to say that vacancies occurring when the White House and Senate are held by different parties should be held up.

In response, McConnell said, "Oh, we'd fill it". "If there is a vacancy next year, because the White House and the Senate are the same party, we would vote to fill the slot", McConnell's staff director wrote in an email to reporters listing previous statements.

"The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the Court's direction", McConnell said.

"We think the important principle in the middle of this presidential election, which is raging, is that the American people need to weigh in and decide who's going to make this decision", McConnell said on Fox News at the time. Republicans now control the Senate and White House.

"What can't be undone is a lifetime appointment to a young man or girl who believes in the quaint conception that the job of a deem is to study the legislation", McConnell talked about. "That's the most important thing for the country, which can not be undone". Presidential candidate Julián Castro said on Twitter that McConnell's "shamelessness at stealing a Supreme Court seat is appalling". Republicans had only a slim majority with 52 senators, not enough for them to confirm a nominee with absolutely no Democratic support.

Democrats lamented the GOP's decision to stall in 2016, which ended up giving President Trump the ability to place two conservative justices on the Supreme Court during his first term in office.

Ironically, in doing so, McConnell cited the so-called "Biden rule", a reference to a 1992 speech in which Biden argued that President Bush should delay the hypothetical confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, should an opening occur before that November's election. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 86, has suffered a number of health issues in recent years, including cancerous growths in her lung and broken ribs.