May 29, 2019

McConnell Hypocritical About-Face on SCOTUS Nominations in an Election Year Should Surprise No One

Contact: William Lutz

Washington, DC — Senator Mitch McConnell has reversed his position on confirming Supreme Court Justices in an election year. After refusing to offer President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, so much as a hearing in 2016, McConnell has now made clear that he would move to confirm President Trump’s nominee should he have the opportunity to name one in 2020. Below is a statement from ACS President Caroline Fredrickson.

“Senator McConnell’s rule about not confirming Supreme Court nominees in an election year was never an exercise in letting the American people have a say in the makeup of the Court; it was always a cynical political gambit. We knew it then and we know it now. The only thing his remarks of the last 24 hours do is reconfirm McConnell as one of the more nakedly partisan and shameless political figures ever to grace the halls of Congress.

“This whole sordid episode also highlights the alarming disparity between how seriously the far right takes the battle for control of the judiciary vs. the left. The right is clearly willing to engage in the most underhanded of dirty tricks to assert their control over the courts, while this issue gets short shrift from the left and its candidates. Even when successfully elected to office, progressives move with much less urgency to fill vacant seats on the bench than the right does. The result? Devastating losses for voting and abortion rights and democracy.

“McConnell’s so-called rule about Supreme Court nominees came from out of nowhere. Who is to say that if Trump loses in 2020 and claims the election was rigged, McConnell won’t hold up nominees as he questions the legitimacy of the next president? It’s clear that he feels no personal embarrassment about the ridiculousness of his positions on these issues and I wouldn’t put anything past Senator McConnell at this point.”

Founded in 2001, the American Constitution Society (ACS) is a leading progressive legal organization and network of attorneys, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers, and other concerned individuals, dedicated to making the law a force to improve people’s lives. For more information, visit us at or on Twitter at @acslaw. You can also follow Caroline Fredrickson on Twitter @crfredrickson.