Senators clash as SCOTUS confirmation fight heats up: Schumer accuses GOP of ‘cravenness’ that could ‘tear down’ RBG’s life work while Mitch vows: ‘We’re voting on this nomination on this floor’
- ‘This Senate will vote on this nomination this year,’ Senate Majority Mitch McConnell said
- He was the architect of the strategy that stonewalled President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland
- McConnell blasted Democrats and said Republicans would ‘keep our word’
- Sen. Charles Schumer called McConnell ‘defensive’ and accused Republicans of ‘cravenness’
- President Trump is pushing for a vote before the Nov. 3 election, and said he’ll make a nomination Friday or Saturday
- ‘I’d much rather have a vote before the election because there’s a lot of work to be done’
- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on the Senate floor Monday to plow ahead with President Donald Trump‘s Supreme Court nominee as he accused Democrats of ‘dirty tricks’ to try to stop the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.
‘We’re going to vote on this nomination on this floor,’ McConnell said Monday in a floor speech after eulogizing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
McConnell addressed weekend arguments by Democrats that the move was an exercise in ‘raw power’ after he orchestrated a delay of nearly nine months of President Barack Obama‘s nominee to fill a seat on the high court.
‘If our Democratic colleagues want to claim they are outraged they can only be outraged at the plain facts of American history,’ said McConnell, who mustered arguments about prior court fights.
He also pointed to the 2018 elections, when Republicans picked up two seats – although only a third of the chamber was up for reelection and Democrats enjoyed gains in the House.
‘This Senate will vote on this nomination this year,’ McConnell said.
McConnell’s counterpart, Sen. Charles Schumer, fired back that whoever fills the justice will soon rule on a Trump administration suit seeking to throw out Obamacare.
‘He will nominate a justice that will ensure that result in a Supreme Court case that will be argued only a few weeks after election day,’ Schumer said.
He referenced comments Ginsburg dictated to her granddaughter before she died. ‘That was justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish. Her most fervent wish that she should not be replaced until a new president was installed,’ said Schumer.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (L) wears a protective mask as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol on September 21, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., departs the chamber after speaking about the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Sept. 21, 2020
He accused Mcconnell of being ‘defensive’ after saying the American people ‘should have a voice’ while stalling the Garland nomination.
‘Now these words don’t apply?’ Schumer asked. He said it ‘doesn’t pass the smell test in any way. No wonder leader McConnell was so defensive in his comments,’ Schumer added.
McConnell and Republicans have brought up Schumer’s words about a hypothetical vacancy in 1992 when he said a nominee shouldn’t be considered except in exceptional circumstances.
Schumer ripped South Carolina Lindsey Graham for his flip-flop. Graham told people to ‘use those words against me’ when he said he would oppose taking up a nomination an election year the next time around.
‘It’s enough to make your head explode,’ said Schumer.
‘There’s no shaping the cravenness of this position,’ he said. ‘It is utterly craven, an exercise in raw political power.’
President Trump’s arguments were less tied to nuanced and decades-old precedents of the chamber. He said flat-out that the difference between now and 2016 is that Republicans control the Senate and the White House.
McConnell spoke from the floor as his leadership team prepared to meet Monday
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has yet to say if he favors a vote on a nominee before the election
‘I think Merrick Garland is an outstanding judge,’ said Trump. ‘But the only problem was, and this is up to the Senate, the only problem was President Obama did not have the Senate … He didn’t get a lot of judges through, because you know why? He didn’t have the Senate.’
Trump continued: ‘That’s an election fo a different kind. We had the Senate. And the Senate didn’t want to do that, and Mitch didn’t want to do that. So there’s a difference: when you have the Senate, when you have the votes, you can sort of do what you want as long as you have it.’
McConnell has lost just two Republican senators on the matter of voting on a Supreme Court nomination before the election: Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who voted for an impeachment article against Trump, has yet to make a statement on process.