Several top Republicans in the Senate dismissed Democratic criticism of hypocrisy as they attempt to vote on nominating a new Supreme Court justice in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week.
Democrats over the weekend frequently asserted that the GOP would be hypocritical for confirming a nominee from President Donald Trump after the Republican-led Senate refused to hold a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee, after Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued that a Republican president is in the White House, and Republicans hold the Senate. He said that it was appropriate to block Garland’s nomination because his party held the Senate while Obama, a Democrat, was in the White House.
Some Republicans on Saturday and Sunday pushed back against the Democrats, with some even saying that they would do the same thing if given the opportunity.
“Being lectured by Democrats about how to handle judicial nominations is like an arsonist advising the fire department,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote Sunday. He also said Democrats’ battle over Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation merits payback.
“Democrats chose to set in motion rules changes to stack the court at the Circuit level and they chose to try to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s life to keep the Supreme Court seat open. You reap what you sow,” he wrote.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he would vote to confirm a Trump-appointed justice, saying that Democrats would do the same.
“No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican president’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year. The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it,” he said in a statement on Sunday.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Republican leadership, also backed the majority leader.
“This should take as long as it needs to take, but no longer,” Blunt told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “There is plenty of time to get this done. But to get it done before Election Day, everything has to work, I think, pretty precisely,” Blunt said.
If a conservative-appointed judge is appointed, it would give them a 6-3 advantage and could have significant implications for issues including abortion, health care, gun control, and religious freedom initiatives.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have said there should not be a Supreme Court nomination vote close to an election.