In response to the news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday evening at the age of 87, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell issued the following statement:
The Senate and the nation mourn the sudden passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life.
Justice Ginsburg overcame one personal challenge and professional barrier after another. She climbed from a modest Brooklyn upbringing to a seat on our nation’s highest court and into the pages of American history. Justice Ginsburg was thoroughly dedicated to the legal profession and to her 27 years of service on the Supreme Court. Her intelligence and determination earned her respect and admiration throughout the legal world, and indeed throughout the entire nation, which now grieves alongside her family, friends, and colleagues.
In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.
By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.
President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.
“Twenty-nine times in American history there has been an open Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year, or in a lame-duck session before the next presidential inauguration,” Dan McLaughlin noted in a recent article for National Review. “The president made a nomination in all twenty-nine cases.”
“In the absence of divided government, election-year nominees get confirmed,” McLaughlin wrote. “[A]n election year alone is not the historical rule [for holding a seat open]. It is not what Mitch McConnell said at the time [in 2016], and it is not what Grassley said at the time, either.”