Mitch McConnell’s invocation of the “Biden Rule,” after President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court infuriated Democrats, even Joe Biden who detailed the rule himself.
Now, McConnell has explained that he will invoke the rule again if he and Republicans retake control of the Senate in 2022, and Biden were to nominate a new justice in 2024.
Democrats are now beseeching Stephen Breyer, who is 82 years old, to retire so Biden can replace him while they maintain control of the Senate. They’re worried the GOP will retake the presidency in 2024 and add yet another conservative justice to the court.
Fox News reports:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he would block a Supreme Court nominee from President Biden in 2024 if Republicans are in the Senate majority – just as he did in 2016 after the death of late Justice Antonin Scalia.
McConnell, R-Ky., made the comment in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. The commitment follows a controversial decision McConnell made last year to plow ahead in confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett less than two weeks before Election Day.
“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,” McConnell told Hewitt. .
“So I think it’s highly unlikely. In fact, 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,” McConnell added. “What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president.”
Indeed, McConnell said as early as Feb. 22, 2016, that “the Senate has not filled a vacancy arising in an election year when there was divided government since 1888, almost 130 years ago.” For that reason, McConnell says, Republicans were being consistent when they confirmed Barrett after stonewalling now-Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination in 2016.
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