POLITICS
01/04/2017 06:42 pm ET

Mitch McConnell Says Americans Won't Tolerate Democrats Blocking Supreme Court Nominations

He blocked the president's own high court nominee for 293 days.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a warning to Democrats on Wednesday, one day after the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland expired without any Senate action: Don’t consider staging a similar blockade on any of President-elect Donald Trump’s high court nominees.

“I think that’s something the American people simply will not tolerate and we’ll be looking forward to receiving a Supreme Court nomination and moving forward on it,” McConnell told reporters.

His darts were aimed at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday that he’d do everything within his power to keep the Supreme Court seat open.

Schumer said on Wednesday that Democrats would oppose any “out-of-the-mainstream” Trump nominees — perhaps a nod to Garland, who was as mainstream a candidate as President Barack Obama could have offered.

McConnell’s admonition that the American public may not put up with prolonged Democratic obstruction is curious in light of his own plan to not lift a finger on any of Obama’s nominees ― a plan he shrewdly came up with on the day Justice Antonin Scalia died last February.

In the end, McConnell’s no-hearings-no-vote gamble paid off, and the Garland nomination died with the old Congress after 293 days — setting a modern record for Supreme Court nominees.

The only trump card Democrats in the Senate have now that they’re in the minority is the 60-vote threshold for moving forward with a vote on Supreme Court nominees. If they play hardball with McConnell, even that might go in this next Congress.

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