In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley reiterated that they believe the next president should fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“Americans issued a stinging rebuke to this president and his policies in our latest national election, delivering a landslide for the opposition party as they handed control of the Senate to Republicans in 2014,” the two senators wrote in the op-ed.
“Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, we believe that the American people should seize the opportunity to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate the next person for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court,” McConnell and Grassley wrote. “It is today the American people, rather than a lame-duck president whose priorities and policies they just rejected in the most-recent national election, who should be afforded the opportunity to replace Justice Scalia.”
The Republicans senators said they don’t think that “the American people should be robbed of this unique opportunity.”
They pointed to past remarks made by Democratic senators to justify their wish to deny President Obama’s nominee a hearing.
McConnell and Grassley noted that under a Republican president Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that nowhere in the Constitution “does it say the Senate has a duty to give presidential nominees a vote.” They also mentioned Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) 2007 speech in which he said that Democrats should block any more Supreme Court nominations from then-President George W. Bush unless it was clear they were mainstream nominees.
“Even if some Democrats may be having amnesiac experiences today, it’s clear that concern over confirming Supreme Court nominations made near the end of a presidential term is not new,” the two Republican senators wrote in their Washington Post op-ed.
Shortly after the news broke on Saturday that Scalia had passed away, McConnell issued a statement saying that a Supreme Court nominee should not be confirmed until the next president takes office. Grassley also said that the confirmation should wait until after the 2016 election.
Grassley later made his position on whether the Senate should hold hearings for Obama’s nominee unclear. On Tuesday he said he “would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decisions.” Then on Thursday he said his Saturday statement about waiting for the next president should “preempt anything that I said about a committee meeting.”