Trump Lays It Down on the Supreme Court Question: 'We Have an Obligation'

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Donald Trump made it clear on Saturday that Republicans had an obligation to confirm his nominee to the Supreme Court to replace the seat in the wake of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday.

“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us,” the President said, “the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already made it clear that he intends to do so, saying that Trump’s nominee “will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

The only question that remains is if McConnell has enough Republicans among the folks in the middle who sometimes waver.

While Democrats are trying to claim that no one should be appointed because it’s an election year, McConnell has previously explained and did again what he sees as the distinction between this year and 2016, when the Senate held off on any hearing over the nomination of Merrick Garland.

From Fox News:

“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise,” McConnell continued. “Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”

McConnell added that “by contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary.”

So no, it’s not the same situation as 2016 and the Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) shouldn’t pretend it is.

But Hans Von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, told Fox News that it is not unprecedented for an incumbent president seeking re-election to nominate a judge to the Supreme Court, and be confirmed, prior to Election Day.

“Historically, since 1900, presidents have made five Supreme Court nominations in the year they were running for re-election: Taft in 1912; Wilson in 1916, in fact he had two nominations; Hoover in 1932; and the great hero of the Democratic Party, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, did it in 1940,” Spakovsky told Fox News. “All of those nominations were confirmed.”

He added: “It is not as if this would somehow be unprecedented. …The point is, prior presidents have done it, their nominees have been confirmed, and there is no reason it can’t be done this year, too.”