Democrats’ Threats Against Our Institutions Predate This Vacancy By More Than A Year

‘If we go on to confirm this nomination after a careful process, then both in 2016 and in 2020, this Senate will simply have provided the typical, normal outcome in each scenario.’

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


“I explained yesterday how moving ahead with a vote on the forthcoming Supreme Court nomination will be consistent with history and precedent.

“When an election-year nomination to fill an election-year vacancy occurs in divided government, with a Senate and a President of different parties, the historical norm is that such nominations are not confirmed.

“But the times this has happened after the American people have elected a Senate majority to work alongside a same-party President, every such nominee has been confirmed, save one bizarre exception who had corrupt financial dealings.

“Let me say that again.

“Except for Justice Abe Fortas and his ethical scandals, every single nomination in American history made under our present circumstances has ended in a confirmation. Seven out of eight. 

“That’s the thing about facts and history. Angry rhetoric does not change them. Partisan finger-pointing does not alter them. Facts simply exist. They are there for everyone to see.

“History and precedent were on this Senate majority’s side in 2016 and they are overwhelmingly on our side now.

“If we go on to confirm this nomination after a careful process, then both in 2016 and in 2020, this Senate will simply have provided the typical, normal outcome in each scenario.

“Think about that fact — and then then weigh it against the outcry and hysteria that is already erupting from the far left.

“Yesterday, the Democratic Leader announced on the floor that if the Senate holds a vote on the forthcoming nomination it would, quote, ‘spell the end of this supposedly great deliberative body.’


“That’s what he said. It would be the death of the Senate. The death of the Senate? If a duly-elected majority of the United States Senate exercises its advice and consent power as it sees fit?

“That is what Senates do. It is in our job description. Presidents make nominations as they see fit, and Senate majorities either provide or withhold advice and consent as we see fit.

“But now our Democratic colleagues tell us that the Senate doing normal senatorial things would ‘spell the end’ of this institution. Whatever that may mean.

“The Democratic Leader is not alone in these pronouncements.

“Chairman Jerry Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee has already announced that if the Senate majority dares act like a Senate majority, future Democrats should ‘immediately move to expand the Supreme Court.’

“From another colleague: ‘If [they hold] a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021. It’s that simple.’

“Speaker Pelosi intimated on television last weekend she may consider launching a new frivolous impeachment simply to tie up the Senate’s time. Quote: ‘We have our options.’

“The junior Senator for Massachusetts says Democrats ‘must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.’ The junior Senator for Hawaii says ‘all of those matters will be on the agenda.’ The senior Senator for Connecticut says ‘nothing is off the table.’

“And just yesterday, former Vice President Biden himself refused to rule out that he might seek to pack the Supreme Court.

“Bear in mind, none of them assert this majority would be breaking any Senate rule by holding this vote. It is just that our Democratic friends worry they might not like the outcome.

“For some reason they cannot bear to see Republicans governing within the rules as Republicans, doing exactly what Americans elected us to do.

“So they threaten to wreck the makeup of the Senate if they lose a vote, and to wreck the structure of the Court if somebody is confirmed whom they oppose.

“It has been interesting to watch our colleagues try to recast their disturbing threats as somehow tied to this Supreme Court vacancy. No one should fall for this trick. Democrats have already been threatening these actions for months.

“Our colleagues now say that ‘nothing’ would be ‘off the table’ if a new Justice were to be confirmed. They want badly for people to believe these are new threats that Democrats would take off the table if Republicans would just help them sink President Trump’s nominee.

“Well, let me read another quotation. This is the junior Senator for California speaking, our distinguished colleague who’s now running for Vice President. Quote: ‘We are on the verge of a crisis of confidence in the Supreme Court. We have to take this challenge head on, and everything is on the table to do that.’ End quote.

“Sound familiar? Of course it does. Our colleague made that remark in March of 2019.

“These threats are not new. They have nothing to do with this new vacancy.

“Democrats have already been playing this game for more than a year and a half.

“It was more than a year ago that several Senate Democrats threatened the Supreme Court in a written brief. They said ‘the Court is not well [and] perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured.’

“It was more than a year ago that Democrats competing for their party’s presidential nomination made Court-packing a central element in their platforms.

“It was more than six months ago that the Democratic Leader appeared outside the Court and threatened specific Justices if they did not rule his way.

“For goodness’s sakes, the junior Senator for Maryland came right out and admitted this yesterday.

“Someone asked him whether he’d support these acts of institutional vandalism if a nominee is confirmed this year, and he helpfully pointed out, quote, ‘I’ve always said I’m open, even before this seat opened… [those] possibilities were on the table before we got to this point.’

“These threats are not new. They have nothing really to do with this vacancy.

“Our friend the junior Senator for Delaware said on television this Sunday he wants to persuade Republicans to forego filling this vacancy.

“But all the way back in June, long before five days ago, he himself notably refused to rule out breaking the Senate’s rules to kill the filibuster. 

“There is no degree to which rewarding these threats would buy the nation any relief from this.

“There is no “deal” that would stop their dangerous tactics.

“Giving in to political blackmail would not do a thing to secure our institutions. 

“You do not put a stop to irresponsible hostage-taking by making hostage-taking a winning strategy.

“I’ll tell you what really could threaten our system of government.

“It is not Senate Republicans doing legitimate things, squarely within the Senate rules and within the Constitution, that Democrats happen to dislike.

“No, what could really threaten our system is if one of our two major parties continues to pretend the whole system is automatically illegitimate whenever they lose. If they continue to act like, for their side of the aisle, a legitimate defeat is an oxymoron. That is the danger to our democracy.

“Every one of these attacks on our institutions only underscores how important they are.

“Every threat to turn our courts into a political tug-of-war only reinforces why the Senate is charged with protecting our independent judiciary -- and why this majority’s work with President Trump on this task is so crucial.

“The President plans to use the power the voters gave him to make a nomination. 

“Senators will use the power the voters gave us to either provide or withhold consent as we see fit.

“And the only ones responsible for those threats will be the people making them.”

Related Issues: Supreme Court, Senate Democrats