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GOP Senator Says She'd Support Trump Filling a Supreme Court Vacancy This Year Even If He Loses and the Hypocrisy Is Real

Iowa PBS

The nation was rocked at the beginning of 2016 when conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly, creating a vacancy on the nation's highest court.

As was his constitutional duty, former President Barack Obama nominated Scalia's replacement, moderate Judge Merrick Garland.

Despite national outcry, the Republican-dominated Senate—led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)—refused to bring Obama's nomination to the floor. Instead, they left the seat open for over a year, claiming that it was too close to the election—which was nine months away—to let Obama appoint a Supreme Court justice.

McConnell said of the decision at the time:

"The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate somebody very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy."

President Donald Trump was eventually elected and inaugurated. Shortly after, the Senate confirmed Trump's nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

But with Trump still in office and the Presidential campaign, Republicans have changed their tune. McConnell has since vowed that the Senate would approve a Trump-nominated judge for the Supreme Court regardless of timing.

And in a recent interview, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has said the same.

Watch below.

Ernst, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that even if Biden is elected and Democrats regain the Senate, she would have no problem approving a Trump-nominated judge in the two and a half months between the election and inauguration, colloquially known as the "lame duck" session.

The Senator said the situation was different than Garland's appointment because the Senate and the President are of the same party:

"I would support going ahead with any hearings that we might have and if it comes to an appointment prior to the end of the year, I would be supportive of that. We would need to have some very serious discussion about that, but again—even though it's a lame duck session, it is still a Republican President and still a Republican Senate."

People called out Ernst for her hypocrisy.







Some momentum has grown in favor of expanding the Supreme Court to include more than nine justices.

Ernst's words only bolstered that stance among some.



The new Congress will be sworn in on January 3rd of 2021, while either Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden will be sworn in on January 20.