Justice Antonin Scalia’s sudden death in February 2016 could have permanently disrupted the balance of power on the Supreme Court, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made sure that wouldn’t happen when he famously stated, “This vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation to the Supreme Court marks a major victory for McConnell and the Republican Party.
“When the final chapter in Mitch McConnell’s book is written, this will place very prominently,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), adding, “It prevented the court from going in a completely opposite direction, so, in that sense, it’s a huge victory, consequential for decades.”
Just before the Senate confirmed Gorsuch on Friday, McConnell commented that the move to keep the seat open was “the most consequential decision I’ve ever been involved in.”
He’s often clashed with conservatives for being seen as too willing to make deals with Democrats, but McConnell has redeemed himself in their eyes, according to a report in The Hill.
Wicker noted that McConnell’s strategy has had a positive impact on the Republican party because it turned out to be a driving force in getting conservatives to go out and vote on Election Day.
“It’s all the more remarkable because he did it on an audible,” Wicker pointed out, noting that McConnell’s action was immediate after he heard of Scalia’s death “on a weekend, with no advisers around him and with no opportunity to even get the leadership together on a conference call.”
McConnell said that some Democrats have quietly informed him that “they are ready to move on from the fight over Gorsuch, and other nominees, and begin working on areas where they agree with Trump’s legislative agenda.”
“I hope a lot of the Democrats who have been telling me privately they want to move past that will be able to do that publicly when we get back,” he said.
H/T: The Hill
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