A small update to yesterday morning’s post about the increasing politicization and partisanization of Supreme Court appointments: In a radio interview Monday morning, with a Philadelphia station on behalf of embattled Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Arizona Sen. John McCain made an explicit appeal for preserving the Republican majority in the Senate in order to prevent any potential Hillary Clinton Supreme Court nominees from being confirmed. McCain said:
I promise you that we [Senate Republicans] will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said. “I promise you. This is where we need the majority, and Pat Toomey is probably as articulate and effective on the floor of the Senate as anyone I have encountered.
If we take McCain at his word, this is quite an explicit pledge, much more so than the Sen. Mike Lee interview that led off my piece yesterday. It advances the most extreme possibility I mentioned in yesterday’s piece, that we could have vacancies that stay open for years while the number of justices shrinks.
That it comes from McCain makes it especially sad or perhaps dangerous, since he definitely ranks near the top of the list of senators who still believe in bipartisan cooperation. Does the name McCain-Feingold ring a bell?
Of course, McCain doesn’t claim to have attended a secret meeting at which all Senate Republicans made a pledge to stonewall Clinton’s nominees. And if the Repubs happened to have a very small Senate majority heading into next year, it wouldn’t take many defectors to create some possibilities.
But still, if McCain’s radio pledge makes you want to clap eyes on a list of the ages of all the current justices, it’s here.
Hat tip to commenters Neal Rovick and Marc Post for pointing out the McCain quote in the thread under yesterday’s piece.