Many people think Mitch McConnell got his position as majority Senate leader by engaging in hardball politics and not caring about what people thought of him.
On Tuesday, McConnell was asked about his view in terms of filling a Supreme Court vacancy if a justice was to leave the court in 2020. McConnell revealed that it would surely be filled.
This is in contrast to his attitude in 2016 When Barack Obama was in office. McConnell refused to meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, who was the choice of Obama at the time. McConnell argued that an outgoing President such as Obama could not make a pick because of the lifetime tenure of the seat, which use to be held by Antonin Scalia. Scalia died in February of 2016.
In other words, filling the seat with Obama leaving office is not acceptable, but filling the seat when Trump leaves office would be acceptable.
McConnell insists the situations are different, explaining that the President’s party did not control Congress in 2016, unlike today. McConnell also stated that the last time a Supreme Court vacancy was filled without the President’s party in control was 1888.
There seems to be some contradiction here because McConnell also stated that the tradition has typically been that vacancies in the Supreme Court are not filled during a contested Presidential election.
It is obvious that McConnell makes the assumption that a President, regardless of his party, should not be permitted to nominate a job that has a lifetime appointment.
This is why his comments explaining that they would fill the seat in Trump’s last year demonstrate clear contradiction.
Many people think that McConnell is acting this way on purpose. The real reason for his contradiction is that who Trump would pick for the seat would be in line with McConnell’s political views, unlike the choice for the vacant seat in 2016.
McConnell knows that if one of the Supreme Court Justices dies or retired in 2020, Trump would nominate another conservative for the seat. This would mean there would be six conservatives and only three liberals on the nation’s most important court for possibly decades. This would create legacies for McConnell and Trump extended far beyond their time in office and possibly beyond their time living on Earth.
McConnell seems to be aware of his contradiction and does not care. The chance to get six conservatives on the Supreme Court is why McConnell does not care about the criticism he would receive by the press and others. McConnell, up for re-election in 2020, does not care about the backlash. This is because liberals will vote against him anyways, while conservatives will praise his actions and push even stronger for his re-election.
McConnell seems willing to do whatever it takes to make a conservative transformation of the judiciary.
McConnell could care less whether you or anyone else calls him a hypocrite, which on this issue it appears that he is. McConnell also does not care whether democrats promise to beat him in 2020 because of this. McConnell is seasoned in terms of politics and has seen it all before.