When Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13, 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wasted no time in making clear that the Obama White House would not fill that vacancy. When the Democratic president chose a centrist, compromise choice for the Supreme Court, McConnell ensured that Judge Merrick Garland be treated in ways no high court nominee has ever been treated.
Senate Republicans, at McConnell's insistence, would not speak to Garland. Or give him a hearing. Or vote on him in committee. Or consider him on the Senate floor.
It was therefore difficult to stifle laughter yesterday afternoon when the GOP leader told reporters that it's "imperative" that Donald Trump's next Supreme Court nominee "be treated fairly."
The Senate Democrats' strategy for the upcoming fight is taking shape, but part of the minority party's pitch is calling out McConnell for his breathtaking cynicism, and demanding that he honor the standards he set just two years ago.
As Democrats geared up for an epic fight they're not likely to win over the next Supreme Court nominee, they spoke with one loud voice: Wait until after the midterm elections. [...]
Democrats cried foul as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed Wednesday to push ahead with the confirmation of Kennedy's replacement before November's elections — despite refusing to advance President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee ahead of the 2016 presidential race.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke on the Senate floor yesterday, and argued that the vote on Justice Anthony Kennedy's successor should wait until after the midterm elections. Using a phrase several Democrats used, the New York senator added, "Anything but that would be the absolute height of hypocrisy."
As a simple matter of propriety, the Democratic argument has merit: if nine months before an election is too soon to consider a Supreme Court nominee, then four months is, too. The arithmetic is tough to argue with.
But there's a reason this argument will fall short: Mitch McConnell doesn't care.