McConnell: ‘We’d Fill’ Any Supreme Court Vacancy in 2020

Legal Business

The Senate majority leader says if there’s a vacancy on the Supreme Court during next year’s election cycle, the Republican-controlled Senate would likely confirm a nominee selected by President Donald Trump.

In an appearance Tuesday in Paducah, Kentucky, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told a questioner that if a Supreme Court justice died next year, creating a vacancy on the nine-member court, “Oh, we’d fill it.”

McConnell’s comments appeared to mark a reversal from his stance three years ago, during President Barack Obama’s final year in office, when he orchestrated a blockade of Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell blocked hearings for Garland, a federal appeals court judge, saying that the choice should be left to voters in an election year.

McConnell’s change of heart drew attacks from Democrats still smarting from his success in cementing the high court’s conservative majority. The vacancy created by Scalia’s death was filled by conservative Neil Gorsuch while swing vote Anthony Kennedy, who retired, was replaced by Justice Brett Kavanaugh after an acrimonious brawl last year.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said McConnell was a “hypocrite” and tweeted that his colleague “lives for GOP judges because he knows the GOP agenda is so radical & unpopular they can only achieve it in courts.”

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