A long list of GOP senators who promised not to confirm a Supreme Court nominee during an election year - 2020-09-18
It's likely just a matter of when, not if, President Donald Trump nominates a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday of pancreatic cancer. He held a ceremony at the White House just last week to unveil a short list of future nominees, and at the same time the rest of the country was processing the news of Ginsburg's death, an apparently oblivious Trump was onstage at a rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, talking about nominating Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to the bench. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had previously gone around the country telling donors that Ginsburg's death would be his party's "October Surprise," pledged Friday that "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."
It's a far cry from four years ago. When this same situation unfolded in 2016, after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February of that year, many Senate Republicans—most of whom are still in the chamber—drew what purported to be a principled line in the sand, insisting that it was too close to the presidential election for President Barack Obama to choose a replacement. It should be up to the voters to decide in November, they argued. Some of them even invoked the words of then-vice president Joe Biden, who as a senator several decades earlier had offered similar logic. They called it the "Biden Rule." (Biden, in 1992, was not responding to any actual vacancy, but merely a hypothetical one.) When Obama nominated Merrick Garland anyway, no one led the charge as stubbornly as McConnell:
But it wasn't just McConnell. This was the default position at the time. Here's what a not-comprehensive look at what 17 active Republican senators said.