Late last week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, and prominent Republican leaders including President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have already been harping on the idea of rushing through a replacement. That potential rushed Ginsburg replacement would fly in the face of the precedent that Senate Republicans themselves set in 2016 when they refused to even hold a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, citing the imminent presidential election. During an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, former President Bill Clinton — who originally nominated Ginsburg to the nation’s highest court — suggested that Trump and McConnell’s “first value is power.”
‘This is what they do. I think that both for Senator McConnell and President Trump, their first value is power, and they’re trying to jam the court with as many ideological judges as they can, but to be fair, there is a case to be made for the argument that McConnell made, that in the middle of a presidential season, you should give the voters a say. That’s what he said when it was 10 months away, but when the shoe’s on the other foot, and he wants the judge — we’re fewer than 50 days away — that argument doesn’t cut any mustard. So it’s going to further spread cynicism in our system.’
McConnell has claimed that the original principle is that Supreme Court vacancies should not be filled in a presidential election year if the White House and Senate are controlled by different political parties at the time. The fact of the matter is, however, that despite his melodramatic attempt in 2016 to give the American people a supposed say in the Supreme Court nominee selection process via waiting to hear their presidential choice, in this situation, McConnell is trying to rush through the process without hearing from the American people. “Apparently, when it’s to his advantage, the people are not entitled to a say,” Clinton observed on Sunday.
Watch Clinton’s Sunday comments below:
Fmr. President @BillClinton on Sen. Mitch McConnell and President Trump attempting to fill RBG's seat: "Their first value is power and they're trying to jam the court with as many ideological judges as they can. … It's going to further spread cynicism in our system" #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/d5bx6xeLk5
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 20, 2020
During a recent phone conference with fellow Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) insisted that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to a potential rushed replacement for Ginsburg. Options include adding justices to the court, which would hinge on Democratic control of the Senate. According to FiveThirtyEight, Democrats are “slightly favored” to win the Senate during the upcoming November elections as of Sunday morning, but it’s close.