Gov. Phil Murphy called out the “rank hypocrisy” of GOP Senators when it comes to the appointment of a Supreme Court justice in the wake of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Murphy, who is the chair of the Democratic Governors Association, said at a press briefing Sept. 21 that Republicans “want to ram a nominee through six weeks before a presidential election, when just four years ago they refused to offer even a hearing to a nominee whose name was put forward eight months before an election.”
President Donald Trump has promised to announce his choice for the seat after memorial services for Justice Ginsburg are held. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reiterated he intends to fill the seat before year’s end, without explicitly committing to a vote before the election.
This has rankled Democrats, as McConnell refused to even consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick B. Garland for almost nine months in 2016 partly on the grounds that voters should have a say in who filled the lifetime appointment.
Murphy said the posturing that has already commenced should be a cautionary tale of how our national politics has careened off the rails over the past four years as “the rank hypocrisy of those like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is showing.”
“‘Let the people decide,’ they screamed in 2016,” said the governor. “But today, they’re thumbing their noses at the people in the name of a narrow political ideology.”
Murphy characterized the actions by Republican Senators as a “blatant power grab by those whose mission is to undo decades of civil rights progress, protect polluters over the environment, gut healthcare for millions of Americans and deny a woman the right to make her own medical and reproductive decisions.”
Murphy, who has battled with McConnell and other GOP leaders over the lack of action in getting states the aid they need to fight the coronavirus pandemic, framed the debate as showing what the priorities of the Republician party are during a national emergency.
“Right now, our attention and the attention of the President and Congress should be focused on the pressing issue of getting ahead of COVID-19 and ensuring a comprehensive national response and recovery,” he said.
Invoking Sen. John McCain
The first-term Democratic governor challenged GOP Senators to be more like Sen. John McCain when he voted against his party when the Republicans attempted to roll back the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
“How many Senate Republicans will have the guts to stand up and demand that the process be put on hold until after the nation chooses its next president? That’s really a rhetorical question, as so few have shown any guts over the past four years,” said Murphy. “Please, God, can four of these people channel the likes of John McCain and others who went before them?”
When asked if he would support barring judicial nominations in the last year of a gubernatorial term, Murphy said he didn’t “want to speak out of both sides of my mouth, but I was pretty clear and on the record that I thought it was a miscarriage to not hear Judge Garland’s candidacy in 2016, particularly eight months out.”
“I’d secondly say you can’t have it one way one year and a different way, when frankly, the facts have not only really changed, but they’re much more acute in this case.”