WASHINGTON (AP) – Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell says that if a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court during next year’s election cycle the chamber would likely confirm a GOP nominee selected by President Donald Trump.
In an appearance in Paducah Tuesday, McConnell told a questioner asking what would happen if a Supreme Court Justice died next year, creating a vacancy, “Oh, we’d fill it.”
Three years ago, during President Barack Obama’s term, McConnell orchestrated a blockade of Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland to fill a vacancy created with the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell said then the choice should be left to voters in an election year.
McConnell’s change of heart is sure to draw attacks from Democrats still smarting from his success in cementing the high court’s conservative majority.
The Kentucky Democratic Party has released a statement on Senator McConnell’s comments on the Supreme Court.
Here is the full statement:
“Senator McConnell denied Judge Garland a hearing in 2016 and cited election-year ‘tradition’ going back to 1880 in keeping the seat open until a new president could be inaugurated. Sadly, it’s no surprise that with a Republican President, Senator Mitch McConnell has changed his mind. McConnell holds no beliefs sacred — they change as it becomes politically convenient. He’s the worst kind of politician: a self-serving hypocrite.”