Both Connecticut’s U.S. senators are urging Democrats to resist the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice until after November’s elections.
Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his resignation Wednesday, opening the way for Donald Trump to fill a second Supreme Court seat.
Senator Chris Murphy said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must follow his own precedent, set when he refused to allow a vote on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in an election year.
"We hold Mitch McConnell to the precedent that he set in 2016," Murphy said on MSNBC. "It’s not a precedent I agree with, or agreed with, but we should expect that he be consistent. If he wanted the voters to weigh in on the Supreme Court in 2016, he should allow the voters to weigh in on the Supreme Court in 2018."
Senator Richard Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, initially signaled that he’d be open to considering what he termed an open minded and fair jurist. Now, he says, he also believes the confirmation vote should come after the midterm elections.
A decision of this historic magnitude requires more deliberate consideration than is possible in the politically charged months between now&the election.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) June 27, 2018
Speaking on the Senate floor shortly after Kennedy announced his retirement, McConnell said he intends to vote on the nomination this year.
"The Senate stands ready to fulfill its constitutional role by providing advice and consent on President Trump's nominee to fill this vacancy," he said. "We will vote to confirm Justice Kennedy's successor this fall."
Critics of the Democrats' argument say McConnell was clear that he was talking about a presidential election year, not just any election year.
A simple majority is needed to confirm a Supreme Court nomination, after Senate Republicans changed the rules in 2017 to confirm Justice Neil Gorsuch. Previously, 60 votes were required.
Tucker Ives contributed to this report.