On 13 February 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia died. Later that day, the Senate Majority Leader issued a statement saying the Republicans would block any Supreme Court nominations by President Barack Obama.
The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.
– Mitch McConnell on 13 February 2016
The supposed justification for this was that Barack Obama only had 11 months left in his term, so he should be blocked from doing his job. There was no precedent for this whatsoever, but the Republicans claimed there was.
It has been 80 years since a Supreme Court vacancy was nominated and confirmed in an election year. There is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year.
– Senator Ted Cruz, Texas
I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.
– Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election.
– Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
I believe the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in on who should make a lifetime appointment that could reshape the Supreme Court for generations. This wouldn’t be unusual. It is common practice for the Senate to stop acting on lifetime appointments during the last year of a presidential term, and it’s been nearly 80 years since any president was permitted to immediately fill a vacancy that arose in a presidential election year.
– Senator Rob Portman, Ohio
A lifetime appointment that could dramatically impact individual freedoms and change the direction of the court for at least a generation is too important to get bogged down in politics. The American people shouldn’t be denied a voice.
– Senator Chuck Grassley, Iowa
I don’t think we should be moving on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term – I would say that if it was a Republican president.
– Senator Marco Rubio, Florida
The Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until we have a new president.
– Senator Roy Blunt, Missouri
The very balance of our nation’s highest court is in serious jeopardy. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will do everything in my power to encourage the president and Senate leadership not to start this process until we hear from the American people.
– Senator David Perdue, Georgia
The Republicans are proud of the fact they abdicated their Constitutional duties.
One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, "Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy."
– Mitch McConnell on being a do-nothing
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we are in a similar situation of a vacant seat on the Supreme Court with a short time left in a president's current term. Granted, the situation is different. It is only President Donald Drumf's first term, but there might only be 4 months left in it.
My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.
– Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on 18 September 2020
There's something we need to face, though.
Not a single person believes that Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party will do the right thing.
We all know that there will be Senate hearings on the next Justice. There will be a nomination. That person will be voted on and he will then be serving a life-long appointment to the highest court in the United States of America. There is nothing anyone can do to stop this from happening.
I wrote that last bit before Mitch McConnell released his statement on the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. This predicably contains an excuse for the coming hypocracy by the Republican Party:
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. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.
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. Once again, we will keep our promise.
President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.
– Mitch McConnell on being a hypocritical sack of shit
This should surprise absolutely no one, but the little bit about "Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year" is an outright lie. One only need to look as far back as 1988, when Justice Anthony Kennedy was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the 100th United States Congress, which was a majority Democrat in both houses. There have been 17 justices appointed to the Supreme Court in election years. The fact that McConnell's claim is a fabrication will change nothing.
It is too late for voting for the next president to change any of this. Everyone knows this. There will be protests. Those protests will change nothing about the injustice that is coming in the next few weeks. Violence will occur, which politicians will condemn, forgetting they are the root cause for creating the mess in the first place. The violence won't do anything useful, but it will cause supporters of the Republican Party to dig their heels in and say "At least we're not violent" while forgetting that taking away someone's right to bodily autonomy is violent, even though you're asking the state to do it in your stead.
There's nothing you can do about it.