When asked whether Republicans should vote to confirm Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court nominee if they maintain their majority in the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested on Wednesday that he was willing to continue blocking nominees from Democratic presidents.
“You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” Cruz told reporters after a campaign rally in Colorado when asked about a potential Supreme Court nominee blockade, according to the Washington Post. “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”
The comments from the Republican senator known for filibusters come after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said last week that Republicans cannot block Supreme Court nominees indefinitely.
Grassley, who has declined to hold Judiciary Committee hearings on President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, told reporters that senators have a “responsibility” to confirm the justice nominated by the next president.
“If that new president happens to be Hillary, we can’t just simply stonewall,” he said.
His remarks followed a comment from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who suggested Republicans could block Clinton’s nominee before quickly walking that statement back.
“I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said last week. “I promise you. This is where we need the majority.”
Hours later, McCain reversed.
“Senator McCain believes you can only judge people by their record and Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees,” McCain spokeswoman Rachael Dean said in a statement. “That being said, Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career.”