Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to hold hearings on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, arguing that the judicial vacancy should not be filled until the American people elect a new president.
But Republican senators haven’t always punted their Constitutional duty to confirm judges. During the presidency of George W. Bush, the GOP repeatedly argued that judges should be confirmed during presidential election years:
17 Supreme Court Justices were confirmed by the Senate during a presidential election year:
And if Republicans refuse to confirm a nominee until after the election, Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat will remain vacant for more than 300 days — the longest period in the Court’s history and the first time a vacancy would span two Supreme Court terms.
“So even, you know, as you have a lameduck president, there is a historical standard for fairness when it comes to confirming judicial nominees.” — Mitch McConnell (R-KY), 7/14/2008
“Now, to make sure there is a full nine member Supreme Court to interpret the law, to protect the rights of all Americans, I urge the Senate to move quickly and decisively in confirming Judge Anthony Kennedy to the highest Court in the land.” — Ronald Reagan, 1/25/1988