Senate Dems Flip-Flop On The Importance Of Meeting A Supreme Court Nominee

Many Senate Democrats Who Said In 2016, ‘You Can’t Necessarily Make A Judgment About Someone’s Demeanor Or Who They Are As A Person Until You Meet Them,’ Are Refusing To Meet With Judge Amy Coney Barrett


Senate Democrats Who Have Already Announced Their Refusal To Meet With Judge Barrett Said In 2016, ‘The Meetings Are An Important Part Of This Process,’ ‘I Urge All My Colleagues To Meet With [The Nominee]’

2020: [Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)] says he will not meet with Judge Coney Barrett. He says Democrats ‘have fewer tools and they’re less sharp’ to stop the confirmation.” (NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, @KellyO, Twitter, 9/27/2020)

2020: SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT) Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “I refuse to treat this process as legitimate and will not meet with Judge Barrett.” (Sen. Blumenthal, Press Release, 9/26/2020)

  • 2016: BLUMENTHAL: “I hope the American people have an opportunity to see and hear Judge Garland as I did today, because there will be no question that he deserves a hearing and vote. … I regret that he and the judiciary have been dragged into the mud and muck of partisan politics. His treatment demeans our judiciary and the United States Supreme Court and endangers the rule of law… I will fight as long and hard as I can to make sure that Merrick Garland receives a hearing and a vote, and I believe he will be confirmed if he is given that opportunity.” (Sen. Blumenthal, Press Release, 4/07/2016)

2020: SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “I will not be meeting with her, I will take the opportunity to question her when she is under oath.” (CNN, 9/26/2020)

  • 2016: “Senator Mazie K. Hirono today met with Judge Merrick Garland, nominee for the Supreme Court. Senator Hirono also called on her Republican colleagues to do their job and hold a hearing to consider Judge Garland’s nomination.” (Sen. Hirono, Press Release, 5/18/2016)
  • 2016: HIRONO: “Judge Garland’s character and record of judicial service are impressive, and Americans deserve to hear from him in a public Judiciary Committee hearing… [T]he President did his job by nominating Judge Garland, and it’s far past time for my Republican colleagues to do their job by holding a hearing and vote on the nomination.” (Sen. Hirono, Press Release, 5/18/2016)

2020: SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): “No… Why would you meet with somebody if you already know where they’re going to be on every case?” (‘This Is An Illegitimate Nomination’: Some Democrats Snub Trump’s Pick,” Politico, 9/24/2020)

2020: SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): “[I have] no intention [of meeting with the nominee,] I personally have no desire to pretend it’s acceptable.” (‘This Is An Illegitimate Nomination’: Some Democrats Snub Trump’s Pick,” Politico, 9/24/2020)

  • 2016: MERKLEY: “I was honored to meet with Merrick Garland today. … President Obama has done his job in putting forward an extremely qualified nominee. Now it is time for Senate Republicans to do theirs and to hold hearings and a vote on his nomination, as the Constitution requires.” (Sen. Merkley, Press Release, 5/19/2016)

2020: SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): “I will not meet with Judge Amy Coney Barrett. This nomination process is illegitimate. I refuse to participate in the further degradation of our democracy and our judiciary.” (Sen. Gillibrand, @SenGillibrand, Twitter, 9/27/2020)

  • 2016: GILLIBRAND: “After meeting with Judge Merrick Garland, it is clear he is highly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. I urge all my colleagues to meet with him and assess his qualifications, hold hearings and vote on his confirmation. The issues before the Supreme Court are too important to go months with a vacancy on the bench.” (Sen. Gillibrand, Press Release, 3/30/2016)


But Other Democrats Have Said, ‘I Will Extend That Courtesy,’ ‘I Have Never Refused A Meeting With Anybody,’ ‘My Spirit … Is To Sit Down And Meet With People And Talk To Them’

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “I met with every Supreme Court nominee since I’ve been in the Senate. I will extend that courtesy if she requests it, for at least a socially distanced safe meeting, perhaps over the phone.” (ABC, 9/27/2020)

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “I’m either going to meet with her in person or by phone…” (CBS, 9/27/2020)

NBC’s CHUCK TODD: “Senator, do you plan to meet with Judge Barrett?”
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), Senate Judiciary Committee Member: “It is my intention to do so. I think you know my spirit which is to sit down and meet with people and talk to them... So I hope to have a conversation with her.” (NBC, 9/27/2020)

“Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) both said they’ve always met with nominees in the past when asked if they’d meet with Trump’s nominee this fall.” (‘This Is An Illegitimate Nomination’: Some Democrats Snub Trump’s Pick,” Politico, 9/24/2020)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “Oh, I have never refused a meeting with anybody. I think that’s the greatest responsibility, as a United States senator you have, is to hear all sides of whatever the debate might be or what anybody is going to be confirmed. How can you confirm? It says basically that we meet and confirm. How do you confirm without meeting or not confirm? So, I have never denied that.” (CNN, 9/27/2020)


Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Supreme Court, Senate Democrats