Last week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, and President Donald Trump has already publicly endorsed the idea of moving forward with a replacement for the late Justice “without delay.” This idea, which top Senate Republicans also support, flies in the face of the precedent that Senate Republicans themselves set in 2016 when they refused to hold a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, using the imminent presidential election as an excuse. On Meet the Press this Sunday morning, Hillary Clinton called out the dangers of the GOP’s belligerence, insisting that they are threatening the very foundations of American democracy in their quest for “power.”
Clinton, as then-First Lady, introduced Ginsburg to then-President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and Bill subsequently nominated her to the nation’s highest court. Ginsburg’s nomination secured the votes of 96 out of 100 of the then-Senators, representing a moment of bipartisan unity. Now, McConnell and his allies are rushing the other direction.
Discussing the Senate judicial confirmation process, Hillary told host Chuck Todd on Sunday:
‘It’s absolutely broken… The system has been broken for quite awhile, but clearly, the decision that Mitch McConnell made back in 2016 in the midst of that presidential election but at a much earlier time when Justice Scalia unexpectedly passed away, is what should be the standard now. They talk about, well, we’ve had other standards before — well they made a new precedent, and that new precedent, which they all defended incredibly passionately, is to wait for the next president, whoever that is, to make the nomination.’
McConnell claims that the original “principle” — which his team made up — is that Supreme Court vacancies should not be filled in presidential election years if the White House and Senate are controlled by different political parties. Either way, the fact is that in 2016, McConnell claimed that the American people needed to make their voice heard in the then-upcoming election before the selection of a new Supreme Court justice. Now, McConnell doesn’t want to hear any more from the American people, it seems.
Clinton ominously added:
‘It’s another blow to our institutions. What’s happening in our country is incredibly dangerous. Our institutions are being basically undermined by the lust for power: power for personal gain in the case of the president or power for institutional gain in the case of Mitch McConnell, at the cost of ensuring that our institutions withstand whatever the political winds might be.’
Watch some of Clinton’s comments below:
"That new precedent, which they all defended incredibly passionately, is to wait for the new president." pic.twitter.com/VtMwg2GtqX
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) September 20, 2020