(USA Features) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Republicans “likely” would block any Supreme Court justice nominee in 2024, the next presidential election year, should an opening come up, provided the party controlled the chamber.
“I think it’s highly unlikely—in fact, no, I don’t think either party, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, told conservative talk host Hugh Hewitt.
McConnell and Republicans took a lot of heat from Democrats when the party refused to considered then-Judge Merrick Garland, who was President Barack Obama’s third high court nominee, because it was an election year and because opposing parties held the Senate and the White House.
Hewitt asked McConnell about another potential scenario: If Republicans controlled the Senate in 2023, would he allow a nominee to be considered?
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” McConnell replied.
McConnell, for years, has argued that since the 19th century, no Supreme Court nominee has been confirmed in an election year when the chamber and the White House were controlled by opposing parties.
But in recent months after taking control of the Senate, the House, and the White House, Democrats have suggested ‘packing’ the Supreme Court with justices who have a leftist ideological bent, something that not all Democrats and virtually no Republicans support.
Progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have begun pressing 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer to retire, especially after he pushed back on efforts to expand the court earlier this year, saying that doing so would politicize the high court.
“It’s something that I’d think about but I, I would probably lean towards yes. But yes, you’re asking me this question so I’ve just, I would give more thought to it, but, but I’m inclined to say yes,” she said during an interview over the weekend regarding support for Breyer’s retirement.
Breyer discussed packing the court during an event at Harvard Law School in April.
“It is wrong to think of the Court as another political institution,” Breyer said. “And it is doubly wrong to think of its members as junior league politicians.”
“Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that perception, further eroding that trust,” said Breyer, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994.