Joe Biden is about to get some more bad news.
It comes at a time when Democrats cannot afford any setbacks.
A Supreme Court justice’s retirement is going to lead to this major change.
In an interview with right-leaning radio host Hugh Hewitt, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell described his 2016 decision to keep Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat vacant on the gamble Donald Trump would win the presidential election the most “consequential” decision of his career.
McConnell added that should Republicans win back the Senate majority in 2022, McConnell would block any Joe Biden Supreme Court nominees during the 2024 election citing the historical precedent of the Senate not confirming the opposite-party president’s nominees in an election year.
“Well I think in the middle of a presidential election if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled. I think it’s highly unlikely. In fact, and no, I don’t think either party if it controlled — if it were different from the president– would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election. What was different in 2020, was we were of the same party as the president. And that’s why we went ahead with it,” McConnell told Hewitt.
Hewitt pressed McConnell on how far he would take a Supreme Court blockade of Biden nominees if the GOP won back the majority.
“Now let me ask you about the key thing, leader, about the 2023 term again. If you are back as the Senate Republican leader, and I hope you are, and a [Democratic appointee] retires at the end of 2023 and there are 18 months — that would be the Anthony Kennedy precedent — would they get a fair shot at a hearing? Not a radical but a normal mainstream liberal,” Hewitt asked McConnell.
McConnell responded that he would consider keeping a Supreme Court seat vacant for two years starting in 2023.
“Well, we’d have to wait and see what happened,” McConnell declared.
McConnell’s comments set off alarm bells on the left.
The Senate is tied 50-50 and there is a decent chance Republicans could flip the one seat they need to win back the majority in the 2022 elections.
That’s leading to increased calls on the left for liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to step down while Democrats still control the Senate.
“Retire, Stephen Breyer, and the confirmation of your successor can be smooth and orderly. Let this former clerk of yours make history as the first Black woman on the Court. Don’t let Mitch McConnell dictate the fate of your seat,” executive director of Demand Justice Brian Fallon tweeted in response to McConnell’s comments.
Democrats know that when McConnell speaks about confirming judges there is no bluff or playing around involved.
And now the greatest worry on the left is McConnell and the Senate Republicans delivering another Supreme Court vacancy to a Republican president taking office in 2025.
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