Democrats’ worst fears have come true. News broke on Saturday that a vacancy on the Supreme Court in 2020 could result in yet another right-leaning judge being installed in the nation’s highest court.
As Trump draws to the end of his first term, prominent GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) confirmed the possibility of filling a last-minute Supreme Court vacancy with a Trump nomination ahead of the election.
This marks a reversal from the Senate’s handling of Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat after he passed away in 2016.
The Republican-led Senate at the time refused to conduct a confirmation hearing for Garland and allowed his nomination to expire after Obama left office. This move paved the way for Donald Trump to nominate current Justice Neil Gorsuch to the court, sending Democrats into a rage.
In the event that another vacancy arises while Trump is still in office, Graham confirmed that the Senate will approve the nomination even though it’s an election year, despite Democrat cries that all election-year nominations should be treated the same.
Graham said that the confirmation process for approving a Trump nomination in an election year would be different than what happened with Garland’s nomination in an interview set to air on Sunday:
You had the president of one party nominating, and you had the Senate in the hands of the other party. A situation where you’ve got them both would be different. I don’t want to speculate, but I think appointing judges is a high priority for me in 2020.
If you look into the history of the country, there had not been an occasion where somebody was confirmed in a presidential election year after primary started when you had divided government.
One of Trump’s greatest achievements in office is the staggering amount of right-leaning federal judges that have been confirmed by the Senate in the last four years. Trump also had the opportunity to install two new Supreme Court Justices as well, with Gorsuch being the first, followed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appears to agree with Graham, recently saying in regard to judicial nominations that “my motto for the year is leave no vacancy behind. That hasn’t changed.