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'Obama was asking for an unusual favor': McConnell defends voting on Supreme Court nomination despite blocking Obama's 2016 nominee

Griffin Connolly
·1 min read
 (Independent)
(Independent)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor on Monday to explain why he’ll hold a vote on Donald Trump’s pending nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, even though he opposed voting on Barack Obama’s nomination to the court in similar circumstances in 2016.

Mr McConnell differentiated Mr Obama’s 2016 selection of DC Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia from Mr Trump’s 2020 pick by saying there was “divided government” in 2016, whereas Republicans control both the Senate and the White House now.

Mr Obama was asking for "an unusual favor" for an opposite party-controlled Senate to confirm his Supreme Court pick in an election year, Mr McConnell said on Monday.

The Kentucky Republican, who is also up for re-election this November, vowed to hold a vote on Mr Trump’s nomination before the end of the year.

“President Trump's nominee for the vacancy will receive a vote on the floor of the Senate,” he said.

"The Senate has more than sufficient time to process the nomination" before the 3 November elections, Mr McConnell said, although he did not commit to holding a vote before then.

The Senate could also vote on Mr Trump’s nominee in the lame-duck session after the election.