The Washington Post published a story reviewing the recent history of Supreme Court nominations during election years, specifically outlining the differences between the 2016 presidential election opening and 2018 midterm election opening.
Many Democrats have attempted to apply the Republicans logic from 2016 to now with Justice Kennedy announcing his retirement on Wednesday. (RELATED: KENNEDY CALLS IT QUITS: LONGTIME SWING JUSTICE HANDS TRUMP THE BIGGEST GIFT OF HIS PRESIDENCY)
In February 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia died, creating an open seat on the bench. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the seat, but the Republicans refused to hold confirmation hearings because the presidential election was less than a year away.
My statement on the retirement of Justice Kennedy.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new Congress.”
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 27, 2018
The WaPo article points out the glaring difference between the two most recent vacancies: one happened in the year leading up to a presidential election, and the other happened in the year leading up to a midterm election.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer stated, “Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016: not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year,” on Wednesday but failed to specify the difference in elections.
“The American people are in the middle of choosing who the next president is going to be. And that next president ought to have this appointment, which will affect the Supreme Court, for probably a quarter of a century,” the article cited a 2016 Mitch McConnell interview with ABC.
Justice Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 elections and Mitch McConnell chose to wait to give the American people a say. We are 131 days away from Election Day. Justice Kennedy’s seat should be held to the same standard.
— Dick Durbin (@DickDurbin) June 28, 2018
The Thurmond rule, named after Sen. Strom Thurmond, states that judicial nominations should cease in the year leading up to a presidential election. The article points out that Thurmond later contradicted himself.
The article concludes, “Bottom line: it’s pretty clear the debate in 2016 revolved around nominations made in a presidential election year. Democrats are simply spinning a false narrative.”