I know this isn’t a surprise to most of us, and we shouldn’t have expected anything better of the man. But I think it is worth noting why his argument that this election is different than 2016 is wrong.
In 2016, McConnell argued that the vacant seat on the Supreme Court following the death of Antonin Scalia shouldn’t be filled until following the election, because the American people should be allowed the decision to choose who they believe would offer a better choice for the vacancy.
Earlier today, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed, and with less than two months from the election, a vacancy on the court has reappeared. I wish she could be put to rest before her death became a political battleground, but it is too important to stay silent right now.
Currently, McConnell has pledged to fill the vacancy during President Trump’s term. In a justification of this plan, McConnell has argued, “Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary.” According to him, because the Senate and the Presidency are both controlled by the same party (unlike in 2016), it is permissible to nominate a replacement shortly before the election. (Source of quote: https://www.npr.org/sections/death-of-ruth-bader-ginsburg/2020/09/18/914650878/mcconnell-trumps-nominee-to-replace-ginsburg-will-receive-a-vote-in-the-senate)
However, this is hypocritical because, in 2016, McConnell’s argument had no mention of shared control of both the Senate and the Presidency. That year, he said, “Let’s let the American people decide. The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be.” As that quote suggest, his consideration at the time was not regarding who won control of the Senate, but only who won control of the President. (Source of quote: https://www.npr.org/2016/03/16/470664561/mcconnell-blocking-supreme-court-nomination-about-a-principle-not-a-person)
Like I said above, it is not surprising that McConnell changed his tune. But I wrote this because I hope it proves that MCConnell’s current argument is in contrast with his previous one, in case anyone tries to claim that this current one isn’t new.
I know at this time it is hard to fight the sense of doom that engulfs many of us. But I want to let everyone know that we can fight back. Now is the time for action!
R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg