“I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.” – William F. Buckley Jr
As expected, what you believe about Supreme Court nominations depends on where you sit, on this side or that side of the political aisle.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is flip-flopping on whether the Senate should consider the nomination of a new U.S. Supreme Court Justice in a presidential election year.
“President Trump was elected for a term that runs into January. Republicans have control of the Senate until the end of this Congress. We should fulfill that constitutional duty,” Johnson said in a phone interview with WisPolitics.
Pointing to a history of presidential election year confirmations, Johnson told WisPolitics he is following precedent.
“That’s the norm. That’s the precedent,” Johnson told WisPolitics. “President Trump has indicated he’s going to nominate someone. Leader McConnell has indicated he’ll give that nominee a vote, and I’m very supportive of that.”
That’s a dramatic change from his statement in 2016 when Senate Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Let the American people have a voice in the composition of the Supreme Court,” Johnson said in a written statement. “Instead of a lame duck president and Senate nominating and confirming, a new president and Senate – elected by the people only a few months from now – should make that important decision. I can’t think of a fairer or more democratic process.”
But Johnson is not the only U.S. Senator from Wisconsin who is suffering from amnesia. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is also flip-flopping from her 2016 position:
“The election that will determine our next President and control of the Senate is only 45 days away. Voters across America should be allowed to cast their ballots first, before a Supreme Court nomination and confirmation process moves forward. Majority Leader McConnell and the Senate Majority put in place the standard that Supreme Court nominations would not move forward in an election year. That was the standard imposed on President Obama and the same standard should apply now to President Trump. It’s not only an election year. We are weeks away from an election for President and control of the Senate, and people are voting right now. After the voters have spoken in the election, and the elected President and new Senate have taken office, we can then move forward on a Supreme Court nomination.”
Baldwin’s statement is a complete 180 degrees from her repeatedly stated position in 2016 that the Senate had “a Constitutional duty” to consider the Garland nomination.
Baldwin also stated repeatedly the need for nine members on the Supreme Court.
“In the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation, I would encourage my Republican colleagues to give Judge Garland fair consideration. To ignore this nomination is wrong and irresponsible. Senate Republicans need to do their job and provide Judge Garland a hearing and an up-or-down vote. I believe the American people deserve to have a full and functioning Supreme Court working for them.”