Democrats Repeating Basic Falsehoods to Justify Court-Packing Threats

‘The Democratic Leader may support court-packing, former Vice President Biden may call it ‘a live ball,’ but the American people know these threats are anathema to the rule of law. This Senate majority will not let falsehoods drown out facts. We will not reward hostage-taking. And we will not be bullied out of doing what is right.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Judge Amy Coney Barrett:

“This morning, the Judiciary Committee reported the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the floor. Their recommendation was that she be confirmed. It was unanimous.

“As one CNN journalist stated last week, quote, ‘let’s be honest, in another [political] age... Judge Amy Coney Barrett would be getting 70 votes or more in the U.S. Senate because of her qualifications.’ End quote. It is supremely ironic that our Democratic colleagues delivered through a temper tantrum what they should have delivered through a fair appraisal: a unanimous endorsement.

“All last week, the legal brilliance and judicial temperament that our nation deserves in a Supreme Court justice were on display. We saw why legal peers, fellow scholars, nonpartisan evaluators, students, and clerks from across the political spectrum have praised this nominee in the very highest terms.

“In just a few days, she’ll receive a vote on this floor. And I anticipate we will have a new Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

“That is exactly what the American people want to happen. Clear majorities of Americans want Judge Barrett confirmed. Of our fellow citizens who have formed an opinion, roughly two out of three want confirmation.

“The Democratic Leader’s histrionics are proving just as unpersuasive outside this chamber as they have proven inside of it. His anger and false statements have failed to persuade the Senate and they have failed to persuade the American people.

“Day after day, our colleague from New York performs the same angry speech, with the same falsehoods, and force a vote on some pointless impermissible motion.

“The Democratic Leader is just lashing out in random ways. A few weeks ago, he torpedoed a bipartisan counterintelligence briefing for no reason.

“This week, he’s blocked a pandemic rescue package and tried repeatedly to adjourn the Senate for multiple weeks.

“Today, I understand that he stood outside the Senate to shout that Democrats would be boycotting the committee vote, and the committee vote had actually already ended. 

“Look, I understand that some outside pressure groups have been badgering the Democratic Leader to act more angry. I’m just sorry for the Senate that he obeys them.

“I’m sorry our colleague felt the need to publicly brag that he had scolded the senior Senator for California for being too civil.

“I’m sorry that he feels the need to constantly say things that are false.

“The American people know we disagree. They do not expect “kum-ba-yah.” But they deserve an adult discussion.

“Let’s review some facts.

“First, the timeline. The Democratic Leader’s claims that this process has been rushed are simply false.

“Sixteen days passed between President Trump’s announcement and the start of the hearings. In the last 60 years alone, eight Supreme Court confirmations moved faster. 

“Then one week elapsed between the end of Judge Barrett’s hearings and today’s committee vote. Half of all the confirmations since 1916 have moved faster than that.

“Justice John Paul Stevens was confirmed in 19 days from start to finish.

“For Justice O’Connor, it took just over one month. Chief Justice John Marshall was confirmed in one week after John Adams had already lost re-election. President Lincoln got someone confirmed in one day.

“Obviously it’s completely false to say this has been anywhere close to the fastest process ever. It is just disinformation.

“Here’s another nonsense claim: That Judge Barrett is somehow the most partisan or politicized nominee ever. Really?

“Andrew Jackson nominated a political operative to the Court at the end of his presidency. Lincoln put his own campaign manager on the Court. Eisenhower nominated Earl Warren after Warren had stopped competing with him in the 1952 election and campaigned for him.

“But this professor from Indiana, who got multiple Democrat votes for confirmation to her current job just three years ago, is going to be the most political confirmation ever?

“In the previous century they put their campaign chairman on the Supreme Court. That’s pretty political. Eisenhower put the governor of California who ran against him for the nomination on the Court. That’s pretty political.

“I’ll give you an example. The great John Marshall Harlan from Kentucky had a partner who was a cabinet member in the Grant administration. A guy named Benjamin Bristow. And Bristow was sort of thought of as Mr. Clean in the Grant administration, which had a lot of scandal problems.

“So the GOP convention in 1876 was going to be in Cincinnati. And so in those days, of course, if you wanted to be president you couldn’t admit it. You sort of had to act like you were being drafted.

“So John Marshall Harlan, the largely unknown partner of the better known Benjamin Bristow, went to Cincinnati to the GOP convention to get his law partner Mr. Clean the nomination.

“The perfect choice after eight years of scandal in the Grant administration.

“Well, it became clear after a few rounds of voting that he wasn’t going to be able to pull it off for his partner, Benjamin Bristow. So Harlan threw Bristow’s votes to the Governor of Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes.

“And amazingly enough, right after President Hayes was sworn in of March 1877, it was John  Marshall Harlan, not Benjamin Bristow, who ended up on the Supreme Court.

“He served for thirty years with great distinction, and was the sole dissenter in Plessy v. Ferguson, the one member of the Supreme Court in 1896 that got it right with regard to desegregation and public accommodations.

“Now that actually became the majority opinion fifty eight years later in Brown v. Board of Education.

“Talk about a political appointment. That was a political appointment. Amy Coney Barrett is not the most political appointment ever to the Supreme Court by any objective standard.

“So, these are not really arguments. They’re just angry noises.

“The Democratic Leader said yesterday, quote, ‘Abraham Lincoln, when [he] had the opportunity to fill a Supreme Court seat, said it would be unfair to do it so close to an election.’ That is false. It never happened. President Lincoln never said that or did that. The Washington Post already debunked this disinformation when another Democrat Senator tried to spread it.

“Now the Democratic Leader is claiming Chairman Graham did something unprecedented in committee this morning.

“That would be news to Senator Leahy, who had a Democratic majority vote multiple judges to the floor in 2014 when there were not two Republicans present. Chairmen of both parties have done the same thing multiple times.

“And the Democratic Leader continues to misstate what Republicans said in 2016. Let me quote verbatim from my very first floor speech after Justice Scalia passed away Quote: ‘The Senate has not filled a vacancy arising in an election year when there was divided government since 1888.’

“The Democratic Leader may be emotionally invested in the idea that I said something else. But that’s what I said. Historical precedent supported no confirmation in 2016 and it supports confirming Judge Barrett now.

“Everyone knows what’s going on here.

“We know why the Democratic Leader feels this need to keep saying things that aren’t true.

“Our colleague is trying to invent a justification to declare war on judicial independence and pack the Supreme Court if Democrats should win power.

“Back in March, he walked across the street and threatened Justices by name if they ruled against his wishes. And now, even though this Court ended up delighting the political left with several decisions this year, he still wants an excuse to pack the Court.

“The American people know what a terrible idea this is. Polls show majority support for confirming Judge Barrett and overwhelming opposition to court-packing. The American people are glad that Franklin Roosevelt didn’t get to blow up our independent judiciary in 1937 and they strongly oppose Democrats’ threats now.

“The Democratic Leader may support court-packing, former Vice President Biden may call it ‘a live ball,’ but the American people know these threats are anathema to the rule of law.

“This Senate majority will not let falsehoods drown out facts.

“We will not reward hostage-taking.

“And we will not be bullied out of doing what is right.

“We’re going to follow history and precedent and do our job.”

Related Issues: Supreme Court, Senate Democrats