Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) made admissions that could be awkward for his Republican Senate colleagues trying to block President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
In an interview published Monday, Flake conceded that nobody in the Republican Party “really believes” that late Justice Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat should be left for the next president to fill.
As proof, he flipped the scenario around and envisioned a Republican president currently in the White House and nearing the end of his term.
“Our position shouldn’t be that the next president ought to decide. Nobody really believes that, because if this were the last year of a Republican presidency nobody would say that,” Flake told the Daily Beast.
He added that the Senate’s position “ought to be to confirm the most conservative justice to replace Scalia,” to maintain balance, even if that means confirming President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.
“That ought to be the principle, and that would allow for us to go with Garland if the alternative is somebody more liberal,” Flake said.
In March, Flake indicated that he would consider potentially moving forward a Supreme Court nominee in a lame duck session after the election.
“If we come to a point where we’ve lost the election, and we can get a centrist like Garland in there as opposed to someone like Hillary Clinton might appoint then I’d go for it,” he said.