Trump Makes Major Pledge On Supreme Court Vacancy: ‘Would I Do That? Of Course’
Should a vacancy come up on the Supreme Court before the 2020 election, President Trump said he would absolutely fill the seat promptly.
“Would I do that? Of course,” Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Hill when asked if he’d fill the post during campaign season.
The president’s vow runs counter to what he said in 2016, when he was running for the White House. As a candidate, he opposed former President Obama’s effort to seat his nominee, Merrick Garland, before the election, backing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) decision to block the nomination.
But there’s one big difference compared to the Garland nomination, Trump said.
“They couldn’t get him approved. That’s the other problem because they didn’t have the Senate. If they had the Senate, they would have done it,” Trump said of Democrats.
“I mean, we have the Senate. We have a great Senate. We have great people. If we could get him approved, I would definitely do it. No, I’d do it a lot sooner than that. I’d do it. If there were three days left, I’d put somebody up hoping that I could get ’em done in three days, OK?” he added.
Trump has already successfully nominated two Supreme Court nominees: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The Senate confirmed Gorsuch, 51, on a 54-45 in 2017, and Kavanaugh, 54, was approved 50-48 after a slew of unsubstantiated sexual allegations against him.
The other Justices nominated by Republican presidents are all relatively young: Chief Justice John Roberts is 64, Clarence Thomas is 71 and Sam Alito is 69. On the Democratic side, Obama’s two nominees are fairly young, too: Sonia Sotomayor is 64 and Elena Kagan is 59.
But two other justices nominated by Democratic presidents are up there in age: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 86 (and has recently had health problems) and Stephen Breyer is 80.
McConnell said last month that if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs during the 2020 presidential campaign, Republicans would move quickly. “Oh, we’d fill it,” McConnell said to laughter from the audience.
But Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said there may be a new precedent for waiting. “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election,” Graham said last year.