On Feb. 13, 2016, then-Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead in a ranch bedroom in Texas. It was 268 days before the November election and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was quick to quip that there would not be a replacement until the next president was chosen.
On Friday evening, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of complications from cancer 46 days before the presidential election. But McConnell has already made it clear that he sees no reason to wait for voters to weigh in on who should pick her replacement. The Kentucky Republican declared just hours after the death was announced: “President Donald Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
McConnell’s monomaniacal focus on filling the courts with young conservatives will be tested in the next few months by a variety of factors. But the main one will be whether four Senate Republicans will prove unwilling to go along with confirming a replacement for Ginsburg after their party spent 237 days denying Judge Merrick Garland—President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Scalia seat—a hearing, let alone a vote.