Thursday, 22 August, 2019

McConnell says he would fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell following a weekly policy luncheon in Washington Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell following a weekly policy luncheon in Washington
Patty Aguilar | 29 May, 2019, 21:42

Speaking to an audience in Kentucky Monday, McConnell said should a vacancy occur on the court in 2020, another presidential election year, he would allow a vote.

Triggering laughter from the audience, he added that doing so would be the best way to ensure a "long-lasting positive impact" in the USA and that following the law is "the most important thing we've done in the country".

McConnell's remarks were viewed by CNN on the website of WPSD TV in Paducah.

"We'll see whether there's a vacancy in 2020", McConnell replied without directly answering what he would do.

McConnell led a controversial and ultimately successful effort to block the confirmation of Merrick Garland, a Senate-approved appeals court judge appointed by Obama to serve on the Supreme Court in 2016 after the unexpected death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. "It is a president's constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice and it is the Senate's constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent". The seat was left vacant until April 2017, when President Trump nominated conservative justice Neil Gorsuch. So this vacancy will not be filled this year'.

"The tradition going back to the 1880s has been if a vacancy occurs in a presidential election year, and there is a different party in control of the Senate than the presidency, it is not filled", McConnell told reporters then.

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He added: "The vast majority voted for a more effective, stronger and united European Union while rejecting those who want a weak Europe".

But with his party in the White House, McConnell said Tuesday he'd try to push through any nomination that President Trump might make to the high court - even if it comes during an election year.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said previous year that any vacancies that open up in 2020 would not be filled.

Since 1900, only eight judges have been considered during a presidential election year, the Wall Street Journal noted in 2016. Kennedy was nominated after Democrats spiked the nomination of Reagan's first choice Robert Bork and a second nominee, Douglas Ginsburg, withdrew from nomination. "Remember that the Senate has not filled a vacancy arising in an election year when there was divided government since 1888, nearly 130 years ago". Of those 10, eight were filled.

The Supreme Court situation has ignited passions on both sides.

There are two justices on the high court who are in their 80's, and Democrats have anxious for some time about the health of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Kavanaugh, like Gorsuch in his early 50s, was confirmed by the Senate after a bitter nomination process that included allegations of sexual assault in the 1980s, which he denied.

She has since returned to the court, maintaining an active schedule.

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