White House suggests chance of five-year Supreme Court vacancy

White House press secretary Josh Earnest raised eyebrows during today’s press briefing by suggesting that Democrats would be “justified” to take revenge on the GOP blockade against Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland by blocking a possible GOP president’s nomination for the president’s full term.

Earnest was recalling a suggestion President Obama made in an interview with Fox News Sunday in which he said if Republicans continued blocking Garland until he left office then “it is almost impossible to expect” that Democrats wouldn’t retaliate if given the opportunity.

“What’s to stop Democrats who are in charge of the Senate when a Republican is in office, from saying, ‘Well, we’re just going to wait the four years to fill the vacancy.’ There is no material difference in that argument. That would represent a breakdown of the process,” Earnest said.

But Earnest went just a bit further, after a reporter asked, “Would they really do that?”

“They would be justified in doing it, based on what Republicans have done so far,” Earnest said, adding “Hopefully, they — it won’t come to that.”