Democrats blast McConnell for saying Republicans would fill a 2020 Supreme Court vacancy

Democrats are slamming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration GOP group's ad calls on Graham to push for election security: 'Are you still trying?' Harris keeps up 'little dude' attack on Trump after debate MORE after the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday that Republicans would fill a Supreme Court seat in 2020 if one became open.

McConnell was asked by an attendee during a speech at the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce public policy luncheon in Kentucky what his position would be on filling a Supreme Court seat during 2020 if a justice died.


"Oh, we'd fill it," McConnell said to laughter from the audience.

Democrats quickly blasted the Senate majority leader after Tuesday's comments.

McConnell sparked ire in 2016 when he refused to give a hearing or a vote to Merrick Garland, then-President Obama's pick to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall Pelosi: 'People are dying' because McConnell won't bring up gun legislation MORE (D-N.Y.) called his Republican counterpart a "hypocrite" after the statement. 

"Seriously it’s no surprise.@SenateMajLdr McConnell lives for GOP judges because he knows the GOP agenda is so radical & unpopular they can only achieve it in courts," he wrote. 

"Anyone who believes he’d ever allow confirmation of a Dem President's nominee for SCOTUS is fooling themselves," Schumer added.  


Democratic presidential hopeful Julián Castro also criticized the Republican leader, saying that if he were elected president, he would make an appointment when the Senate was in recess if his nominee was not considered. Recess appointments are eventually considered by the Senate. 

"We’ve known all along how hypocritical the @senatemajldr is. But his shamelessness at stealing a Supreme Court seat is appalling," Castro wrote. 

"As President, I will work with the entire Senate to get my appointments confirmed, but won’t hesitate to make a recess appointment to the Court if the Senate refuses to consider my nominee," he added. 


Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesWords matter, except to Democrats, when it involves impeaching Trump Democrats face key moment on impeachment drive Top House Democrat walks back remarks contradicting Judiciary on impeachment inquiry MORE (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Democratic Caucus, accused Republicans of stealing a Supreme Court seat in 2016.  


The 2020 presidential election is seeing emphasis placed on the Supreme Court after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty MORE has been able to fill two seats on the high court since taking office.

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate 5 takeaways from fiery Democratic debate Left off debate stage, Bullock all-in on Iowa MORE (D), who is also running for president in 2020, renewed his call to end the filibuster after McConnell's comment. 


Another 2020 Democratic hopeful, Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate 5 takeaways from fiery Democratic debate MORE (Calif.), criticized McConnell, tweeting, "In Mitch McConnell’s version of 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,' Mr. Smith is primaried and the boys never get their campsite," referencing the 1939 film. 


The appointment of Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration The crosshairs of extremism  New York City to end ban on gay conversion therapy to avoid Supreme Court fight MORE to the bench gave the court a firm conservative majority after the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was often the swing vote.

The composition of the Supreme Court has become increasingly discussed in recent weeks as a series of states passed laws restricting abortion rights. One, in Alabama, bans almost all abortions and could pose a direct legal challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.