Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) accused Senate Republicans of engaging in “naked politics” with the Supreme Court vacancy left by Antonin Scalia’s death.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Republican-led Senate’s refusal to fill the opening would not cause Republicans to lose any Senate seats.
“Let’s be clear: advise and consent does not mean we want to hold the spot vacant until someone more to our political liking is in the presidency and can make a different nomination. No, advise and consent means we have hearings, we consider a nominee in good faith and then we have a vote on that nominee,” Warren said during a Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee meeting on Capitol Hill.
“Maintaining a vacancy is nothing more than naked politics. It has no legal foundation. It has no principled foundation. This is naked, naked politics start to finish, side to side, top to bottom, and that’s why it is that we are here to say that the Republicans in the United States Senate should just do their job. They need to put their oath of office ahead of their party politics,” she added.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she would consider a Republican president’s Supreme Court nominee with a Democrat-led Senate during an election year.
“We really have to do some soul-searching about what would we do if it was a Republican president and a Democratic Senate, and I’ve come to the conclusion that with a year left here I would have certainly gone forward and met with the person and had hearings,” she said. “I don’t know who the person is so I can’t say how I would have voted but it’s just outrageous to the entire nomination process and to the Senate if we keep this up.”
McConnell maintained that there would not be any hearings for President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.
“We know the Democrats, if the shoe were on the other foot, they would not be confirming a Republican president’s nomination for the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election year. We think the American people ought to decide this. We’re not going to move on this nomination. We’re not going to have hearings. We’re not going to have votes on it,” he said.
“Whoever the next president is will get to make this nomination. Look, it’s been 80 years since a vacancy created in a presidential election year was filled. You have to go back to 1888. Grover Cleveland was in the White House the last time when a vacancy was created in a presidential year. The Senate controlled by the party opposite the president filled the vacancy. Not going to happen and it’s not going to cost a single Republican candidate for the Senate any votes at all.”
Garland has meetings scheduled with several key GOP senators including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.).