4 years in the past, after the loss of life of Supreme Court docket Justice Antonin Scalia, Republican senator after Republican senator made ground speeches, issued press releases, and went reside on air to argue that in an election 12 months, the American folks deserved an opportunity to weigh in on the subsequent Supreme Court docket nominee by first selecting their subsequent president.
Now these chickens are coming residence to roost.
On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace grilled Sen. Tom Cotton after the Arkansas Republican mentioned the Senate “will transfer ahead immediately” to substantiate President Donald Trump’s nominee, who could also be introduced as quickly as next week. Mid-interview, Wallace performed again a 2016 clip of Cotton defending the Senate for refusing to think about President Barack Obama’s nominee to exchange Scalia, Merrick Garland. “Why would we reduce off the nationwide debate about this subsequent justice?” Cotton requested within the clip. “Why would we squelch the voice of the folks? Why would we deny the voters an opportunity to weigh in on the make-up of the Supreme Court docket?”
“If it was mistaken then, 9 months earlier than the election, why is it okay now, six weeks earlier than the election?” Wallace requested.
In response, Cotton argued that election ends in 2018 gave Senate Republicans a “mandate” to do, nicely, regardless of the hell they need: “In 2014, the American folks elected a Republican majority of the Senate to place the brakes on President Obama’s judicial nominations,” he mentioned. “In 2018, we had a referendum on this query—only a month earlier than the 2018 midterms, we had the vote on Justice Kavanaugh. There couldn’t have been a clearer mandate, as a result of the American folks didn’t simply elect Republicans, they expanded our majority. They defeated 4 Democratic senators who voted towards Justice Kavanaugh. They reelected the one Democratic senator who did vote for Justice Kavanaugh.”
Then Cotton went a step additional, claiming that it was a matter of “constitutional responsibility” to each block Garland in 2016 and ensure a Trump nominee now: “We’ve a transparent mandate to carry out our constitutional responsibility. That’s what the Senate majority will do now. That’s what we did again in 2016, as nicely.”
“You don’t see any hypocrisy between that place then and this place now?” Wallace requested.
“The Senate majority is performing a constitutional responsibility,” Cotton repeated, “and fulfilling the mandate the voters gave us in 2016 and particularly in 2018.”
It stays to be seen whether or not accusations of hypocrisy may have any measurable impact on Senate Republicans’ actions now. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said yesterday the Senate ought to look ahead to the election winner to choose Ginsburg’s substitute; on Sunday, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski mentioned she wouldn’t vote to substantiate a nominee earlier than Election Day. Since Ginsburg’s loss of life Thursday evening, Majority Chief Mitch McConnell has been urging different fence-sitters to “maintain their powder dry” and providing justifications —and potential speaking factors—for why the scenario with Ginsburg’s seat is definitely, actually, in no way like scenario with Garland.
For these maintaining rating, although, you should definitely learn my colleague Tim Murphy’s long (but not comprehensive) list of GOP senators who, like Cotton, mentioned a Supreme Court docket nominee shouldn’t be confirmed in an election 12 months.