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

Democrats are slamming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Democrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Iran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner 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 SchumerTrump administration installs plaque marking finish of 100 miles of border wall Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications 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 JeffriesSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week Seven things to know about the Trump trial 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 TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE has been able to fill two seats on the high court since taking office.

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOur government and public institutions must protect us against the unvaccinated Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far 2019's political winners and losers — on both sides of the aisle 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 SwalwellMartha McSally fundraises off 'liberal hack' remark to CNN reporter Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE Swalwell pens op-ed comparing Trump impeachment to XYZ Affair 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 KavanaughDemocratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment January reminds us why courts matter — and the dangers of 'Trump judges' Planned Parenthood launches M campaign to back Democrats in 2020 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.