McConnell Deconstructs Democrats’ Misstatements
‘Democrats want President Trump to keep repeating that the election will be legitimate regardless of whether he wins. But here in the Senate, the very same people are saying that our vote on Monday will only be valid if they like the outcome. Our Republic cannot abide any political faction making ‘illegitimate’ a sloppy synonym for ‘we’re not happy.’
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:
“Yesterday, the Senate took the first step toward concluding our consideration of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“The judge is one of the most brilliant, admired, and impressive nominees for any public office in a generation.
“Tomorrow, we will vote on advancing her nomination toward a final confirmation vote Monday.
“Our recent debates have been heated. But curiously, talk of Judge Barrett’s actual credentials or qualifications has hardly featured in it.
“The Democratic Leader summarized his view yesterday. Quote: “It’s not about qualifications.” His words.
“Instead, our Democratic colleagues have tried to claim the Senate’s process itself is not legitimate.
“These claims are supposed to lay groundwork for radical, institution-wrecking changes down the road.
“But they aren’t true.
“We live in a constitutional republic. The legitimacy of an outcome does not depend on the feelings it provokes in politicians. Legitimacy comes from precedents, rules, and ultimately the Constitution.
“So let’s restate a few facts for posterity.
“Number one — there is no inconsistency between the Republican Senate’s decision in 2016 and our decision to confirm Judge Barrett this year.
“Here’s what I said in my very first floor speech following the death of Justice Scalia: ‘The Senate has not filled a vacancy arising in an election year when there was divided government since 1888, almost 130 years ago.’
“Not setting some new precedent; just stating a fact.
“Fifteen times in American history, during a presidential election year, new Supreme Court vacancies have arisen and presidents have made nominations.
“Seven of those 15 times, voters had elected an opposite-party Senate to check and balance the sitting president.
“Not surprisingly, only 2 of those 7 were confirmed, and none since 1888.
“The other 8 times, the same party controlled the Senate and the White House.
“Seven of those eight were confirmed. All but one. The one exception unraveled in a scandal.
“We followed precedent in 2016 and we are following precedent this week.
“Number two — it’s been claimed that Chairman Graham broke the rules by reporting out Judge Barrett’s nomination.
“As the Parliamentarian confirmed on Thursday, Standing Rule 26 and Senate precedent are crystal-clear. If a majority of a committee is physically present and votes in favor of a nomination, reporting it to the floor is a valid action irrespective of what committee rules say.
“And Chairman Graham didn’t even violate the rules of his committee. Past chairmen of both parties have done precisely what Chairman Graham did Thursday morning. In 2014, for one example, then-Chairman Leahy and the committee’s Democratic majority voted multiple federal judges to the floor without two members of the minority present.
“Nothing remotely unprecedented took place. Not in committee; not on the floor.
“Number three — timing. Some colleagues keep repeating the absurd claim that this is the most rushed confirmation process in history. This is flat-out false.
“From the announcement of the nomination to the start of the hearings, eight Supreme Court confirmations in the last 60 years moved more quickly than this one.
“Then, from the end of the hearing to the committee vote, half of all the confirmations since 1916 moved faster than this one.
“Justice John Paul Stevens was confirmed in 19 days from start to finish. Justice O’Connor in about four weeks. In the past, Justices have been confirmed in one week… in one day!
“There is no argument that Judge Barrett’s nomination has moved at some break-neck pace.
“Facts are facts.
“Number four — contrary to what’s been claimed, the Senate has absolutely confirmed Supreme Court nominees later in presidential election years than this. Multiple Justices were confirmed after elections had already happened!
“We have had multiple Supreme Court Justices confirmed in Decembers of election years. Senates have even confirmed nominees for lame-duck presidents who had just lost.
“This is another non-issue.
“So, look, all these false claims embarrass those who repeat them. But the most important point is this:
“In this country, legitimacy does not flow from the whims of politicians.
“Legitimacy does not depend on which political party makes a decision.
“Legitimacy comes from traditions, rules, and the Constitution.
“Our Democratic colleagues have spent months obsessively demanding that our President repeatedly acknowledge that the election will be legitimate even if he loses.
“But here in the Senate, with this confirmation process, Democrats are flunking that test.
“Let me say that again:
“Democrats want President Trump to keep repeating that the election will be legitimate regardless of whether he wins.
“But here in the Senate, the very same people are saying that our vote on Monday will only be valid if they like the outcome.
“Our Republic cannot abide any political faction making ‘illegitimate’ a sloppy synonym for ‘we’re not happy.’
“That kind of recklessness leads down a road none of us should want to travel.
“So that’s why I keep correcting the record, even though it might seem silly. After all, if Republicans have the votes, why not just ignore my colleagues’ misstatements and move on?
“But it remains our duty to separate right from wrong, fact from fiction, for the good of the Senate and our nation.
“Judge Barrett’s confirmation process has followed every rule. It’s followed the Constitution in every respect. We have abided by the norms and traditions dictated by our history.
“And we’re going to vote tomorrow.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Supreme Court, Judicial Nominations