The Republican National Committee has released a video montage of prominent Democrats discussing the process of filling a Supreme Court vacancy, as the highly-charged debate over whether a Donald Trump nominee should be formalised before the November election intensifies.
Using the tagline, “2020 Democrats should listen to 2016 Democrats,” the video features short clips of Democrats including Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi speaking in the past on the subject.
The Biden clip shows him arguing that “the American people deserve a fully-staffed court of nine.”
Clinton is featured saying: “The president nominates and then the senate advises and consents or not, but they go forward with the process.”
Pelosi is shown suggesting “the American people expect the president’s nominee to be given a fair hearing and a timely vote in the Senate.”
Senator Bernie Sanders also features, saying: “The constitution is 100 percent clear, the president of the United States has the right to nominate someone to be a justice of the Supreme Court.”
The edited clips lack context and none of the Democrats that appear in the two-minute video referenced the issue of a president nominating a replacement justice so close to an election.
Senior Republicans have faced criticism over their support for Trump to choose a nominee to fill the vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died from pancreatic cancer on Friday.
Resurfaced quotes from several GOP leaders have left them open to claims of hypocrisy after revealing how they previously insisted a president at the end of their four-year term should delay the Supreme Court appointment process until after the election.
Among them is Lindsey Graham, who argued that a sitting president should not consider a Supreme Court choice in the run-up to an election.
“If there’s a Republican president [elected] in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination,'” he said at a Judiciary Committee meeting in 2016, urging people to “use my words against me.”
Two years later, in 2018, he again argued for a delay. “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election,” he said.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has vowed to call a floor vote on Trump’s nominee despite the fact he refused to consider President Barack Obama’s choice for the high court in the months leading up to the 2016 election.
McConnell blocked efforts to advance Merrick Garland in the confirmation process — after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died — because he said it was an election year and voters should be left to decide at the polls.
Newsweek contacted the Joe Biden campaign for comment.
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