Whether you believe McConnell was really acting out of a regard for precedent or just protecting his party’s interest, well, that’s politics, baby. You do things that help your coalition and avoid things that hurt them. Meanwhile, the Democrats ought to be careful accusing Republicans of hypocrisy, because the charge can just as easily be turned back on them. Some of the loudest voices in the Democratic party were insisting that the Senate had the obligation or duty to advance the nomination then. Now, when a conservative court majority looms, they say exactly the opposite.
‘I made it absolutely clear that I would go forward with the confirmation process as chairman even a few months before a presidential election,’ Biden said in 2016, adding that the Senate has a ‘constitutional duty’ to fulfill the vacancy on the court. Shortly after RBG’s passing, and borrowing a popular Obama phrase, he said, ‘Let me be clear: the voters should pick a president, and that president should select a successor.’
Sen. Chuck Schumer was also on the record numerous times in 2016 calling for the Senate to ‘do its job’: ‘In order for justice to remain a pillar of this nation we must have a functioning judicial branch. The #SCOTUS must have nine.’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi similarly said, ‘The American people expect Merrick Garland, the President’s nominee, to be given a fair hearing and a timely vote in the Senate. The Senate should do their job.’