In a Monday interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said if he were majority leader in 2024, he would likely block President Joe Biden from filling a Supreme Court seat if one opens up.
According to McConnell, it is “highly unlikely” he would allow Biden to fill the seat in an election year because the last time a vacancy was filled when the Senate majority was opposite of the president was in the 1880s.
He argued the difference between this hypothetical nomination scenario and Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s to replace the deceased Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 2020, an election year, is the Senate was the same party as the president at the time.
“[W]e had very little time left when Justice Ginsburg passed away, and that took a good deal of priority and, I think, skill to get Amy Coney Barrett through,” McConnell advised.
“Let me ask you if you regain the majority in 2022 for the Republicans, and there’s a very good chance of that happening … would the rule that you applied in 2016 to the Scalia vacancy apply in 2024 to any vacancy that occurred then?” Hewitt asked.
“Well, 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 replied. “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,” he added. “What was different in 2020 was we were of the same party as the president, and that’s why we went ahead with it.”