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History and Electoral Outcomes Favor Confirming a New Supreme Court Justice

TN Staff|

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September 21, 2020

Town Hall’s Guy Benson looked at the historical precedent, the Constitution, and the electoral outcomes, and all of them favor the Senate taking up a confirmation vote on Trump’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice.

Nothing in the constitution prevents justice from being confirmed in an election year.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already stated that he will push a nominee through.

National Review discussed the history of the matter:

History supports Republicans filling the seat. Doing so would not be in any way inconsistent with Senate Republicans’ holding open the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. The reason is simple, and was explained by Mitch McConnell at the time. Historically, throughout American history, when their party controls the Senate, presidents get to fill Supreme Court vacancies at any time — even in a presidential election year, even in a lame-duck session after the election, even after defeat. Historically, when the opposite party controls the Senate, the Senate gets to block Supreme Court nominees sent up in a presidential election year, and hold the seat open for the winner. Both of those precedents are settled by experience as old as the republic. Republicans should not create a brand-new precedent to deviate from them.

In short: There have been ten vacancies resulting in a presidential election-year or post-election nomination when the president and Senate were from opposite parties…The norm in these cases strongly favored holding the seat open for the conflict between the two branches to be resolved by the presidential election. That is what Republicans did in 2016…what does history say about this situation, where a president is in his last year in office, his party controls the Senate, and the branches are not in conflict? Once again, historical practice and tradition provides a clear and definitive answer: In the absence of divided government, election-year nominees get confirmed.