September 22, 2020
It’s been 4 days since the news that RBG died. She’s been in and out of the hospital for Trump’s first term. Everyone knew it was coming, but no one really knew when, and with the pandemic mess, racial unrest, election year chaos, and every single “bad” thing being written off as “so 2020”, no one was really ready for the actual news of her passing. She had made it this long; most hoped it would hold off for 2021, when the election had subsided and America would be ready to process the news. They’re reporting that her “most fervent dying wish” was that her seat would not be filled until after the next President was elected. Cartoonist Gary Varvel provides my favorite response to the emotional plea, on behalf of pro-lifers anxious for Roe v Wade decision to be overturned by a conservative SCOTUS.
So…less than 2 months before a contentious Presidential election, we have Democrats screaming that Republican senators are hypocrites for insisting in 2016 that the American people needed a say (via the upcoming election) in Associate Justice Scalia’s replacement, but in 2020 their Senate majority control means that they can confirm a Republican-nominated replacement for RBG.
From the left, we see endless loops of Republican Senators (from 2016) justifying a no vote in an election year. From the right, we see endless loops of Democrat politicians (from 2016) stating the President and Senate must fulfill their constitutional duty to hear and vote on the SCOTUS nominee without delay. So which is it?
Today, Mitt Romney spun the left into despair when he released his statement that broke the stalemate in favor of Republicans, that he’d support a Trump-nominee vote. He was the only republican Senator who had sided with democrats on either Trump impeachment charge votes and was one of several “moderate” Republicans they hoped could help their most fervent desires to block any 2020 Trump SCOTUS nominee from replacing RBG’s seat. Romney’s statement (pictured below) was the first I had seen that specifically stated that precedent meant that the Senate majority power DID vote on same-party candidates in an election year (like Trump’s 2020 RBG-replacement nominee would be) but DID NOT vote on opposite-party candidates in an election year (like Obama’s 2016 Scalia-replacement nominee was).
I decided I needed to look into Romney’s claim more fervently, myself. Is there really a precedent? What is it? I’ve been breaking down our country’s 230+ year history of SCOTUS nominations, and couldn’t imagine a better place to start a new blog.
First up: REJECTED nominations.
Does anyone know (withOUT Googling) the last time a SCOTUS nominee was Rejected by Senate Vote?