5 Times McConnell Said We Shouldn't Confirm a SCOTUS Justice in an Election Year - 2020-09-18
Not two hours after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on February 13, 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had already thrown down a gauntlet: The Senate would not confirm a replacement for Scalia before a new president had taken office. McConnell sneeringly called the principle the "Biden rule," referring to remarks in 1992 from then-Sen. Joe Biden, who urged the Senate president to delay a hypothetical confirmation until after the election if a vacancy did appear, following the contentious confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas.
We all know how this story ended in 2016: McConnell got his way. President Barack Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, was never given a vote, and Trump nominee Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed on April 7, 2017.
There's little hope that McConnell will actually stick to the principle he laid out when Scalia died four years ago (342 days before the next president took office). "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," McConnell said in a statement Friday night. But following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg earlier today (124 days before inauguration day 2021), it's worth holding him to his words anyway.