Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and CNN anchor Jake Tapper debated the differences between Supreme Court nominees Amy Coney Barrett and Merrick Garland during a Sunday morning “State of the Union” interview.
“So that clip from the Senate floor in March 2016 was eight months before the 2016 election,” Tapper said. “Right now we’re five weeks out from the election. Why was it so important back then to let the voters have a chance to weigh in on the makeup of the Supreme Court, but today it’s not?”
“Yeah, Jake, it’s not so much about the timing but how the voters had spoken,” Cotton responded. “They had delivered a split decision to the president and the Senate at the time. They elected Barack Obama in 2012. They elected me and a lot of other Republicans in 2014 as a break in the agenda, most notably on his far left judicial nominees. That’s not the case now.”
“In 2018 we had about as clear a national referendum as we could,” he continued. “Just one month after the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation in which Democrats threw everything but the kitchen sink at him, they didn’t just re-elect a Republican majority, they expanded a Republican majority.”
Cotton pointed out that four Democrats who voted against Kavanaugh were defeated while the one Democrat who voted for him, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, was reelected.
“That is true that that’s what happened in the Senate, but in the House the American people gave it to the Democrats by a fairly overwhelming margin,” Tapper said before playing a clip of Cotton warning of the ideological differences between the late Justice Antonin Scalia and Garland.
“Again, that ideological difference certainly exists between the late Justice Ginsburg and Judge Barrett,” Tapper noted. “It’s perhaps even more of a stark difference, frankly, considering Merrick Garland was center-left. So again, to apply your 2016 principles, which I’m not sure are any longer operative, shouldn’t the American people get the chance to weigh in? Polls indicate that that’s what the public thinks, that whoever’s elected November 3rd should pick the Supreme Court justice.”
Cotton against referenced the “split decision” in 2016. (RELATED: Ben Sasse Predicts Democrats Will ‘Throw Crap At The Wall, See What Sticks’ To Try And Discredit Supreme Court Nominee)
“In 2014 they helped put the brakes on the Obama agenda including his traditional nominees,” he said. “Now we are operating under the clear mandate we received in 2018.”