Feb 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McConnell says he would fill Supreme Court vacancy if it opened this year

McConnell
Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News Thursday that he would fill a Supreme Court vacancy if it opened up this year, despite it being an election year.

Why it matters: Antonin Scalia died on this day in 2016. McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings or a vote that year on President Obama's nominee Merrick Garland, arguing that that the Senate and presidency belonged to different parties and that the vacancy shouldn't be filled until the next president is inaugurated.

  • McConnell later called the move "most consequential thing" thing he has ever done and among his proudest moments.
  • The vacancy ultimately fell into the hands of President Trump, who appointed Neil Gorsuch.

What they're saying: McConnell argued that it would be appropriate to fill a Supreme Court vacancy this year because both the president and the Senate belong to the same party.

  • "If you're asking me a hypothetical about whether this Republican Senate would confirm a member of the Supreme Court due to a vacancy created this year — yeah, we would fill it."
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