Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would fill a Supreme Court vacancy if one opened in 2020, angering Democrats who point to his refusal to allow former President Barack Obama to appoint a justice in 2016, according to Fox News.
"Uh, we'd fill it," McConnell answered in response to the question of what he would do if a justice died and a spot opened on the court during the election cycle.
McConnell said he believes making an impact on the nation's courts is so important because it leaves a longer-standing impact on the nation than laws that can be changed as soon as a different party gets in power.
"Yeah, the reason I started with the judges -- as important as all the other things are that we're talking about -- if you want to have a long-lasting positive impact on the country, everything else changes," McConnell began. "I remember during the tax bill, there were people agonizing over whether one part of the tax bill was permanent or not. And I said: 'Look, the only way the tax bill is permanent, depends upon the next election. The next election. Because people have different views about the taxes in the two parties and approach it differently when they get in power."
McConnell added: "What can't be undone is a lifetime appointment to a young man or woman who believes in the quaint notion that the job of the judge is to follow the law. That's the most important thing for the country, which cannot be undone."
While McConnell's comments drew laughter from the assembled crowd, they quite upset Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who criticized McConnell on Twitter.
"Senator McConnell is a hypocrite," Schumer wrote. "Seriously it's no surprise. @SenateMajLdr McConnell lives for GOP judges because he knows the GOP agenda is so radical & unpopular they can only achieve it in courts. Anyone who believes he'd ever allow confirmation of a Dem President's nominee for SCOTUS is fooling themselves.