Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) shifted blame for his conflicting views on swiftly confirming Supreme Court nominees under former President Barack Obama onto Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) during an interview Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
“In a few weeks the Supreme Court will start its new term with eight justices; we need nine. Major legal questions are hanging in limbo because the court is deadlocked on four/four votes,” Durbin said in September 2016 following the death of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
But after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his impending retirement in 2018, Durbin and his Democratic Senate colleagues urged McConnell to delay the confirmation process for President Donald Trump’s nominee until after the Democrats have the chance to win back the Senate during the November midterm elections.
When NBC host Chuck Todd played the clip for Durbin, he noted, “There’s been some talk among some of your colleagues for Democrats to push for a delay until after the election. Obviously you didn’t like that in 2016. Where are you on this?”
Durbin replied, “Well, I asked Sen. McConnell when Kennedy made his announcement whether he was going to be consistent. He said during the course of the vacancy at the end of the Obama presidency, ‘Let’s wait and let the people decide in an election.’”
McConnell referred to the 2016 presidential election between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. McConnell has since clarified that he meant presidential elections, not midterm elections.
“Well, I asked Sen. McConnell, ‘Are you going to use the same standard this go-around?’ And obviously he is not. The net result of that, of course, is that we are going to move forward quickly to fill the vacancy,” Durbin said. “And I think it’s pretty clear Senator McConnell was seizing the moment, stopping Obama from filling the vacancy with an extraordinarily qualified man.”
But Todd pressed Durbin further, asking, “but where are you on this now? Do you want it delayed? I understand you want to point out hypocrisy on McConnell’s side. But there’s hypocrisy on your side on this too, right? Do you think if it was wrong to delay in 2016, is it wrong to delay now?”
Durbin did not like that line of questioning.
“Well, come on, Chuck. Get real,” Durbin said. “Sen. McConnell invented this new rule and wouldn’t even consider a meeting with Merrick Garland,” Obama’s nominee.
Kennedy’s retirement announcement threw liberals into panic mode as …