Fresh off the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, questions arose about what Republicans might do if another vacancy opens on the court in 2020 — and Republican leadership doesn't agree on what they'd do in that situation.
In 2016, Democrats attempted to fill the vacancy resulting from the passing of former Justice Antonin Scalia. Then-President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, but Republicans used their majority to prevent Garland from even getting a Senate hearing. He never had a shot of being confirmed.
At the time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the American people should have a say in the direction of the court, meaning no judge should be confirmed until a new president is elected.
"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,'" McConnell famously said in August 2016.
This week, McConnell left open the possibility that Republicans could confirm a nominee even in an election year, saying it wasn't about the fact that it was an election year; rather, it was about which party was in control of Congress.
“The Senate in the hands of one party and the White House in the hands of another in a presidential election year,” McConnell said, according to the Washington Examiner. “That is what we had in 2016.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has a different perspective on the issue.
Grassley told Fox News on Tuesday that the committee would not take up a Supreme Court nomination in an election year if he is still the chairman.
His reason? Because of what the party did in the case of Merrick Garland's nomination.
"Because I pledged that in 2016," Grassley said. "That's a decision I made a long time ago."
Chuck Grassley, on Fox just now, contradicts Mitch McConnell on whether GOP would confirm another Trump SCOTUS nomi… https://t.co/yIEP9MEVzr— Jackie Calmes (@Jackie Calmes) 1539128330.0