Bill Clinton on GOP push to fill Ginsburg vacancy: Trump, McConnell 'first value is power'

Former President Clinton slammed Republicans on Sunday over their push to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgWhat would Justice Ginsburg say? Her words now part of the fight over pronouns Supreme Court low on political standing To infinity and beyond: What will it take to create a diverse and representative judiciary? MORE just weeks ahead of Election Day.

Clinton said the decision is hypocritical, noting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow the Democratic Party's campaign strategy is failing America GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation We don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis MORE (R-Ky.) blocked former President Obama’s nominee before the 2016 election. 

“Well, of course, it's superficially hypocritical, isn't it? Mitch McConnell wouldn't give President Obama's nominee Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandAbbott promises to hire Border Patrol agents punished by Biden administration House passes bill to ensure abortion access in response to Texas law Delta pushes for national 'no fly' list of unruly passengers after banning 1,600 from flights MORE a hearing 10 months before the presidential election, and that meant that we went a long time with eight judges on the court,” Clinton, who nominated Ginsburg to the court in 1993, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 


“This is what they do. I think both for Sen. McConnell and President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE, their first value is power, and they’re trying to jam the court with as many ideological judges as they can,” Clinton added. 

The former president made similar comments in an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” stating that the GOP’s “position is do whatever maximizes your power." 

“And it's totally inconsistent with what you said before. Don't worry about it,” he added.

In 2016, McConnell said that the “American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice” and that the vacancy left by the death of the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia should not be filled until the next president was elected.

But just hours after Ginsburg’s death on Friday, McConnell vowed that Republicans will move to fill the vacancy. 

Clinton said on CNN on Sunday that there is a “case to be made” for McConnell’s argument in 2016 that the vacancy should be left open until the election of a new president. 


“I don't know what’s happened to make him stop trusting the American people, but apparently when it's to his advantage, the people are not entitled to a say,” Clinton said. 

He said McConnell’s flip-flop will “further spread cynicism in our system.” 

“I think it would be good for Sen. McConnell, to make him feel better when he gets up in the morning, if he proves that he wasn’t being a hypocrite at the time,” Clinton said, adding that other Republican senators should be “asked to do the same.”

“You can't keep a democracy if there is one set of rules for one group and another set for everybody else,” he added.