McConnell Promises Senate Will Act on ‘Outstanding’ Supreme Court Nominee, Cites ‘Overwhelming’ Historical Precedent


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised on Monday the Senate would act on President Donald Trump’s anticipated nominee to the Supreme Court, who he said would be an “outstanding” jurist.

“No Senate has failed to confirm a nominee in the circumstances that face us right now,” McConnell said in an afternoon speech on the Senate floor. “The historical precedent is overwhelming, and it runs in one direction. If our Democratic colleagues want to claim they are outraged, they can only be outraged at the plain facts of American history.”

Republicans have sought to argue that Trump should quickly fill the vacancy left open by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week by re-litigating their decision to block confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, a judge nominated to the court by former President Barack Obama in 2016. However, McConnell additionally argued, voters granted Republicans a mandate to fill the seat with their vote in the 2018 midterm elections, a month after the Senate confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the court.

“Ironically, it was the Democratic leader who went out of his way to declare the midterm 2018 elections a referendum on the Senate’s handling of the Supreme Court,” McConnell said, referring to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “In his final speech before Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed, he yelled — literally yelled — over and over at the American people to go vote. He told Americans, ‘Go elect senators based on how they’d approach their advice and consent duties over these weeks.’ Unfortunately for him, many Americans did just that.”

He added: “The American people strengthened this Senate majority to keep confirming this president’s impressive judicial nominees, who respect our Constitution and respect the proper role of a judge.”

With 46 days to the election, Ginsburg’s Friday death was the second closest to an election of any justice to sit on the court. The closest was that of former Chief Justice Roger Taney, who died on Oct. 12, 1864, 27 days before that year’s presidential election. The president said Monday that he intended to announce his nominee for the position by Saturday.

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