Commentary

John McCain: Republicans will block any Clinton Supreme Court nominee

Just when you thought the gridlock in Washington couldn’t get any worse, a supposedly moderate “maverick” has indicated it will. Ian Millhiser at Think Progress reports:

“Almost immediately after news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death broke, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proclaimed that ‘this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.’ And, with rare exception, this has been the Senate GOP’s message since Scalia’s seat became vacant?—?let the election happen first, and whoever wins that election gets to pick the next justice.

Nevertheless, in a Monday interview with a Philadelphia radio host, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) admitted that Republicans will continue to block anyone the next president nominates to the Supreme Court?—?at least if that president is Hillary Clinton….

After host Dom Giordano pressed McCain on how he can promise that Republicans will block Clinton’s appointees when they did not block President Obama’s appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, McCain noted that a handful of Republicans did support Sotomayor. This time around, however, he says things will be different.

‘I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,’ McCain told Giordano. He added that ‘this is why we need the majority.'”

As Millhiser explains persuasively (click here to read his entire analysis), McCain’s utterly irresponsible statement is “nothing less than an existential threat to the Supreme Court itself,” since, it’s conceivable such a stance could end up whittling the membership of the Court significantly, given the number of elderly members.

Several hours after McCain made his statement, a spokesperson tried to walk it back — at least a little — by saying the senator would review each nominee individually. Let’s hope the pressure of his current re-election campaign got the better of the senator in the moment of his radio interview. Given the state of conservative obstructionism in the current environment, however, just about anything seems possible.

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