President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who blocked former President Obama's Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland from ever having a hearing in 2016, told the New York Times Magazine that his "decision not to fill the [Justice Antonin] Scalia vacancy" was the "most consequential thing I've ever done."
The big picture: McConnell cited "a longstanding tradition of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election year" in his refusal to even meet with Garland after the death of Scalia — a tradition deemed "false" and "entirely a matter of circumstance" by Politifact. Since Trump's election, McConnell has led the effort to reshape the ideological makeup of the federal judiciary, successfully confirming 2 Supreme Court justices and at least 84 lower-court judges.