Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has long been signaling that Senate Republicans should confirm Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, in the lame duck session if Hillary Clinton wins the election, and on Thursday he confirmed his position.
“I said if we were in a position like we were in in ’96 and we pretty much knew the outcome that we ought to move forward. But I think we passed that awhile ago,” Flake told Politico. “If Hillary Clinton is president-elect then we should move forward with hearings in the lame duck. That’s what I’m encouraging my colleagues to do.”
Flake has made similar comments before and has said that Republicans took the wrong position when they insisted that the next president should choose a nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
Earlier in October, he said that Republicans don’t actually believe the next president should choose the nominee and that they should have instead pushed “to confirm the most conservative justice to replace Scalia.” And if Clinton is elected, that justice would be Garland, Flake told the Daily Beast at the time.
In May, Flake suggested Republicans consider confirming Garland if Clinton wins the presidency.
“If we come to a point, I’ve said all along, where we’re going to lose the election or we lose the election in November, then we ought to approve him quickly, because I’m certain he’ll be more conservative than a Hillary Clinton nomination come January,” the Republican senator said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”