Would Trump Fill SCOTUS Vacancy Before 2020? 'Of Course'


President Donald Trump said on Monday that he would nominate someone to the Supreme Court if a position opened before the 2020 election.

“Would I do that? Of course,” Trump told The Hill.

The president contrasted his stance with his support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not bringing then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, up for consideration in 2016 following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“They couldn’t get him approved,” Trump said of Obama and his fellow Democrats.

“That’s the other problem because they didn’t have the Senate. If they had the Senate, they would have done it.

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“It depends. I mean, we have the Senate. We have a great Senate. We have great people. If we could get him approved, I would definitely do it. No, I’d do it a lot sooner than that. I’d do it. If there were three days left, I’d put somebody up hoping that I could get ’em done in three days, OK?”

In an interview with CBS News last fall, McConnell recounted that it has been a long-standing practice in the Senate not to approve Supreme Court nominees during a presidential election, when the opposing party from the president controls the chamber.

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“You have to go all the way back to 1880 to find the last time a Senate controlled by a different party from the president confirmed a Supreme Court justice to a vacancy created in the middle of a presidential election,” the majority leader said.

He continued: “[Democrats] have also conveniently forgotten that Joe Biden said in 1992, when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee — the Democrats control the Senate, Republican in the White House — if a vacancy occurred, they wouldn’t fill it.”

In early spring, reports swirled that Trump is “saving” 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, if she should leave the bench while he is in office.

Ginsburg, 86, is currently the oldest member on the high court and was appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Justice Stephen Breyer, also a Clinton appointee, is the next oldest at 80.

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Ginsburg appears to have no intention of stepping down from the court while Trump is president.

She underwent lung cancer surgery in December and returned to the bench in late February with a reported clean bill of health.

Ginsburg previously survived colon cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.

Last summer, the justice hinted at a timeline for her retirement. “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years,” she said during an interview.

Ginsburg would turn 90 in the middle of a potential Trump second term.

Multiple Democratic presidential candidates — including Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke — have stated they are open to increasing the number of Supreme Court justices if they should win in 2020.

The effect would be to counteract a conservative majority created on the high court by Trump.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio chastised Democrats for being willing to undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court for the sake of political expediency. For the last 150 years, the number of justices has been set at nine.

In an Op-Ed for Fox News, Rubio chronicled how then-President Franklin Roosevelt proposed in 1937 increasing the number on the bench, because he became frustrated with the Supreme Court blocking some of his progressive agenda.

Although he was a popular Democratic president, the majority of Americans opposed FDR’s plan, viewing it as a blatant power grab. Congress quietly shelved the legislation.

In response to current ploys to pack the court, Rubio wrote: “To prevent the delegitimizing of the Supreme Court, I will introduce a constitutional amendment to keep the number of seats at nine.”

On March 25, he and multiple Republican colleagues did.

“The Democrats’ court packing proposal represents the latest shortsighted effort to undermine America’s confidence in our institutions and our democracy,” Rubio said in a news release.

“America’s institutions are far from perfect. But over the past two centuries, they have provided a framework for our nation to become the most dynamic, most vibrant, and most exceptional nation in all of human history.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith