As the battle over replacing Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who died Friday from complications of pancreatic cancer — takes shape in Washington, D.C., Republican senators who previously refused to hold a vote on former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick are now having their words thrown in their faces.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper on Saturday played a devastating supercut that features Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explaining why they would not vote on Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.
“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham said in 2016 — laying out what Cooper described as an “eerily similar” situation as the one currently playing out in Congress. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, ‘Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,’ and you could use my words against me and you would be absolutely right.”
“We’re setting a precedent here today, Republicans are, that in the last year, at least of a lame duck eight-year term, I would say it’s going to be a four-year term, that you’re not going to fill a vacancy of the Supreme Court based on what we’re doing here today,” he added. “That’s going to be the new rule.”
In his own floor speech on the matter in 2016, McConnell likewise urged Congress to give the American people a say in the Supreme Court pick.
“The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country. So, of course, of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction,” McConnell said.
Cruz — who was shortlisted by Trump as a potential SCOTUS pick earlier this month — also insisted in 2016 that Congress should not move to replace Scalia until after the election.
“I don’t think we should be moving forward on a nominee in the last year of this president’s term, Cruz said. “I would say that if it was a republican president.”
“President Obama is eager to appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement this year,” he continued. “But do you know in the last 80 years we have not once has the Senate confirmed a nomination made in an election year and now is no year to start. This is for the people to decide. I intend to make 2016 a referendum on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Of course, all three men have now signaled they’re much more likely in 2020 to jam a conservative Supreme Court justice down voters’ throats on the eve of an election. After President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that the Senate has an “obligation” select a replacement for Ginsburg, Graham said he “fully” understands where the president is coming from.
In case that statement seems vague, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman added: ”I will support President [Trump] in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”
And McConnell has also insisted “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
And in perhaps the least surprising flip-flop of all, Cruz on Saturday wrote an opinion piece for Fox News that outlined 3 reasons why the Senate must confirm Ginsburg’s replacement before election day. In it, he touted Trump’s “list of extremely qualified, principled constitutionalists who could serve on the Supreme Court” — which, of course, included himself — and argued that going into an election with an 8 person bench could trigger a constitutional crisis in the event of a contested election.
Amazing how now of the senators were concerned with such a problem when Obama appointed his nominee.
Watch the video below to see the blatant hypocrisy for yourself: