Published on

#MidtermsBeforeSCOTUS Takes Off as Democrats Told to 'Stiffen Their Spines'

"Here it is, plain and simple. McConnell set the rule. Now, he and Senate Republicans need to follow it."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks with reporters following the weekly policy luncheons at the U.S. Capitol June 26, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

"Mitch McConnell should follow the Mitch McConnell rule. Let the American people have a say when women's health and equal rights are on the line."

As the #MidtermsBeforeSCOTUS hashtag began to take off on Wednesday, that was how Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) responded to the news that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring, a move that gives President Donald Trump the chance to nominate a second ultra-conservative justice and push the high court even further to the right.

"No nominee should be considered until AFTER the election."
—Sen. Jeff Merkley
The "McConnell rule" Warren cites is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's infamous 2016 declaration that no Supreme Court justice can be confirmed during an election year—a completely fabricated directive that allowed McConnell to steal a high court pick from former President Barack Obama.

After McConnell declared that he plans to hold a vote on Kennedy's replacement this fall, Democrats are attempting to use the so-called "McConnell rule" to stop any attempt by Trump to nominate a virulently right-wing nominee who would give the Supreme Court's conservative wing the power to tear down abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it would be "the absolute height of hypocrisy" for Republicans to vote on a court nominee before the crucial 2018 midterms.


Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

"Our Republican colleagues in the Senate should follow the rule they set in 2016: Not to consider a Supreme Court justice in an election year," Schumer added. "Millions of people are just months away from determining the senators who should vote to confirm or reject the president's nominee and their voices deserve to be heard."

Schumer's demand was echoed by several other senators immediately following Kennedy's retirement announcement on Wednesday.

"No nominee should be considered until AFTER the election," wrote Sen. Jeff Merkley on Twitter.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) opted to quote McConnell's words directly:

Given that, as Vox's Matt Yglesias writes, McConnell "doesn't care" that he is a massive hypocrite or that his own words are now being used against him, activists argued that Democrats are going to have to "stiffen their spines" and stop playing nice if they are to ensure that no Trump nominee gets a vote before November's elections.

"There are just a few months until the midterms," noted political commentator and radio host David Pakman. "Democrats should block ALL SCOTUS confirmation hearings until voters have had a chance to have their voices heard in the midterms."

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Share This Article