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McConnell says he'll allow vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick, weeks away from election

The Senate majority leader famously stonewalled Obama’s Supreme Court pick, 8 months prior to the 2016 election.

By Associated Press - September 18, 2020
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on Donald Trump’s pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, even though it’s an election year.

The Republican Senate leader issued a statement Friday night, about an hour and a half after the Supreme Court announced the liberal justice’s death from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise,” he stated.

He continued, “Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.”

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” he said.

When conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, also an election year, McConnell refused to act on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the opening. The seat remained vacant until after Trump’s surprising presidential victory.

Trump ended up nominating Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed to the court.

The 2020 election is 46 days away.

McConnell had earlier said he would move to confirm a Trump nominee if there were a vacancy this year.


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