Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday insisted that he would block Democrats from appointing another Supreme Court justice if he can take back control of the Senate in 2022.
During an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell was asked about his earlier machinations that prevented Merrick Garland from joining the high court.
"The court and the Constitution would be in quicksand up to its neck if you had not taken the position you took five years ago and we do not have the court that we do today, where we're looking forward and not in fear at decisions this year and next," Hewitt told the Senate minority leader.
"I do think the issue you raised is the single most consequential thing that I've done in my time as majority leader in the Senate," McConnell explained.
"Would the rule that you applied in 2016 to the Scalia vacancy apply in 2024 to any vacancy that occurred?" Hewitt wondered.
"Well, I think if in the middle of a presidential election, you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to the last time a vacancy was filled," McConnell said. "I think it's highly unlikely -- in fact, no, I don't think either party if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election."
McConnell went on to defend his decision to hold hearings for Amy Coney Barrett's nomination in 2020.
"We were of the same party as the president," he noted. "That's why we went ahead with it."
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday asked President Joe Biden's administration to give its views on whether the justices should hear a challenge to Harvard University's consideration of race in undergraduate student admissions.
The case, should it be taken up by the court, would give the court's conservative majority a chance to end affirmative action policies used to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students on American campuses.
The action by the court signals the interest of at least some of the nine justices in considering an appeal brought by a group called Students for Fair Admissions, founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum, of a lower court ruling that upheld Harvard's program. The lawsuit accused Harvard of discriminating against Asian American applicants in violation of a landmark 1964 federal civil rights law.
The Supreme Court has a 6-3 conservative majority.
The use of affirmative action has withstood Supreme Court scrutiny for decades, including in a 2016 ruling involving a white student backed by Blum who challenged a University of Texas policy, though the justices have narrowed its application.
The Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in November ruled that Harvard's consideration of race was not "impermissibly extensive" and was "meaningful" because it prevented the racial diversity of its undergraduate student body from plummeting. A federal judge in 2019 also ruled in favor of the Ivy League school after a three-week trial.
Harvard, one of the world's most prestigious schools, has said that the number of Black and Hispanic students would drop by nearly half if its affirmative action program were to be struck down. Lawyers for Harvard said it considers race "only in a flexible and non-mechanical way" and does not automatically favor certain races in deciding which students to accept.
Blum's group sued in 2014, accusing Harvard of violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination based on race, color or national origin under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Harvard is a private university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts that receives federal funding.
Students for Fair Admissions has said its members include Asian American applicants rejected by Harvard. The identities of these Asian Americans have been withheld throughout the litigation. Blum has said all of them earned high test scores and participated in extracurricular activities in high school and that Harvard's lawyers questioned many of them during the litigation.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Will Dunham)
According to The Daily Beast, Jason Riddle, a man from Keene, New Hampshire who was seen drinking wine after breaking into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, has announced he is running for Congress against Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH).
Riddle, noted reporter Tracy Connor, is currently facing federal charges in connection with the Capitol riot, for which he has pleaded not guilty on all counts. Further complicating his newfound interest in public office, said the report, "Riddle thought Kuster was a state representative until a reporter for NBC Boston informed him on camera that she is actually a U.S. representative."
"Riddle — who claims to have no regrets about breaking into the Capitol and drinking wine he found in a Senate office — said he doesn't think his legal problems will turn off voters," continued the report. "'In the long run, if you're running for office, any attention is good attention, so I think it will help me,' he said."
According to the Keene Sentinel, Riddle was actually caught by the FBI because he gave an interview to NBC10 Boston in which he boasted about making it into the Capitol and "chugging" the wine he stole, which prompted multiple people to turn him in to federal agents.
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