CNN anchor Jake Tapper pressed Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on a statement she made in 2016 about the U.S. Constitution mandating that the Senate confirm President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
The Sunday morning “State of the Union” conversation centered around Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s stated intention to bring to a vote President Donald Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Seeming to acknowledge that there isn’t much Democrats can do alone to stop any confirmation, Klobuchar appealed to Republicans to follow the so-called “McConnell Rule” and wait until after a new president is installed.
“I want to ask you about what you said in 2016 after Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court didn’t even get a hearing,” Tapper said before quoting Klobuchar’s words.
“The Constitution is clear, the Senate must consider the president’s nominee and then choose whether to vote yes or no,” the Minnesota senator said then. “We must do our job, hold hearings, and vote.”
“I understand there is a big difference between a seat opening in February and a seat opening up 44 days before the presidential election,” Tapper continued. “But you weren’t talking about the timelines there, you were talking about the Constitution. If the Constitution was clear then, is it still clear now?”
“We are in modern history where literally just in the last time a justice was considered after someone died unexpectedly, Justice Scalia, a new rule was set by our colleagues,” Klobuchar responded. “And as President Clinton said, you cannot have one set of rules for a Democratic president and another for the Republicans. They set this precedent and they can’t mess around and use raw political power right in the middle of an election. And I would say that is a major difference.”
The Minnesota senator appealed several times during the interview to the fact that early voters are already voting. (RELATED: Ginsburg In 2016: ‘Nothing In The Constitution’ Prevents Final Year SCOTUS Picks)
“And so when my Republican colleagues, and some of them have already come out and said the right thing because they understand what’s at stake here, that they don’t want to join in with the president who is lying and lying and lying in terms of how he’s going to handle a Supreme Court nomination, literally our democracy is at stake and I think Michelle Obama said it best when she said your life depends on it so you better vote,” she concluded.
To counter the Democratic point, Republicans point to the fact that the White House and the Senate were controlled by different parties in 2016, but the same party now.