Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer argues it would be the “height of hypocrisy” for the Senate to consider a Trump nominee before this year’s election. McConnell, of course, doesn’t see the correlation.
“This is not 2016,” he said. “These aren’t the final months of a second-term constitutionally lame duck presidency with a presidential election fast approaching. We’re right in the middle of this president’s very first term.”
The stakes are higher this time, perhaps, in that the justice who is leaving, Anthony Kennedy, has been the swing vote on many historic decisions.
He wrote the majority opinion on Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case that effectively legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. He also cast the deciding vote to uphold the precedent of Roe v. Wade in the 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.
That abortion ruling is the one many observers are most concerned about. Odds are, though, that a candidate who voiced support for overturning Roe v. Wade would find it hard to win confirmation even from moderate Republicans.
Democrats say they won’t go down without a fight, but their only real chance is to convince some Republicans to support them in their effort to block the president’s nominee.
Failing that, we’ll likely see a repeat of last year when the Senate confirmed Gorsuch by a vote of 54-45. In that instance, Donnelly joined Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota in voting yes.