Flashback: In 2016, Ginsburg Said Senate Should Hold Scotus Confirmation Hearing During Election Year


The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prompted key Washington figures to change their tune on whether a high-court vacancy should be filled so close to an election – and even the late jurist seems to have reversed herself on the issue.

Ginsburg, whose death was announced Friday, reportedly told her granddaughter Clara Spera, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” That desire jibes with Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose initial statements included both tributes to Ginsburg and warnings to President Trump that the next nominee could only be named by the winner of the November presidential election.

But in 2016, when a lame-duck President Obama tabbed Merrick Garland to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, Democratic leaders had no problem with the move. And neither did Ginsburg.

“There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being the president in his last year,” Ginsburg said in a 2016 New York Times interview in which she called for Garland to receive a confirmation vote in the Senate.


As for whether the Senate should take up a vote on Garland, Ginsburg said at the time, “That’s their job.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., refused to move on Garland’s nomination, leaving the pick to President Trump, when he won the 2016 election. Trump picked Neil Gorsuch, who was then confirmed and provided conservatives a tenuous 5-4 majority on the court.

This time, McConnell says he is ready to call a vote on a nominee from President Trump, despite the looming election.

Trump and McConnell’s insistence on moving to fill the seat left open by Ginsburg’s death has enraged liberals – even prompting threats to “pack” the court with Democratic appointees should Biden win. Although the written rules simply say that, upon the creation of a vacancy, the president must nominate a successor and the Senate must schedule a vote, members of both parties have shown a certain flexibility in interpreting decorum to fit their agenda.

In 1992, then-Sen. Biden pointed to “the overall level of bitterness that sadly infects our political system and this… (Read more)

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