(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

24 Times Mitch McConnell Demanded The Senate Vote On Judicial Nominees

In his 31 years as a senator, Mitch McConnell has argued that the Senate must fulfill its Constitutional duty and vote on a president’s judicial nominee at least 24 times.

A thorough search of the Congressional Record reveals that the senator has spoken eloquently and repeatedly of the Senate’s rich 200+ year tradition of promptly confirming presidential nominees. He has even explained that the Senate’s obligation under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution requires an up-or-down vote. All of these claims are in direct contrast to McConnell’s refusal to hold hearings for President Obama’s yet-to-be-announced nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Below, in reverse chronological order, is a list demonstrating McConnell’s strong commitment to granting judicial nominees from both parties a simple up-or-down vote.

  1. “So even, you know, as you have a lame­duck president, there is a historical standard for fairness when it comes to confirming judicial nominees.” [7/14/2008] TWEET
  2. “The precedent in the Senate for 214 years prior to the last Congress was the judges who came to the floor got an up-or-down vote.” [12/12/2005] TWEET
  3. “The President of the United States has discharged his constitutional obligation under Article II, Section 2 to nominate justices of the Supreme Court. He has chosen a truly outstanding nominee. It is now our job to provide advice and consent. In doing so, we should follow basically three principles. No. 1, we should treat Judge Roberts with dignity and with respect. No. 2, we should have a fair process. And No. 3, we should complete that process with either an up-or-down vote in time for the Court to be at full strength for its new term beginning October 3 of this year.” [7/20/2005] TWEET
  4. “Slow walking the process beyond historical norms and engaging in a paper chase simply to delay a timely up-or-down vote are not hallmarks of a fair process…. What is not fair and what is, quite frankly, a little curious is for some of our colleagues who, before even having heard a single word of testimony, have already come up with excuses as to why we should depart from this historical standard. It is disturbing that they seek to justify so far in advance why the Court should begin its proceedings at less than full strength.” [7/20/2005] TWEET
  5. “Article II, section 2 of the Constitution clearly provides that the President, and the President alone, nominates judges. It then adds that the Senate is to provide its advice and consent to the nominations that the President has made. By tradition, the President may consult with Senators. But the tradition of “consultation’’ does not transform individual Senators into co-presidents. We have elections for that, and President Bush has won the last two.” [6/9/2005] TWEET
  6. “The Senator from Alabama is correct, and Berzon and Paez were the poster children for nominees out of the mainstream to the left, yet the Senator from Alabama and others, and myself, joined in making sure these two nominees — dramatically out of the mainstream, to the left — got an up-or-down vote in the Senate. When they did, they were confirmed.” [6/8/2005] TWEET
  7. Our debate is about restoring the practice honored for 214 years in the Senate of having up-or-down votes on judicial nominees. Never before has a minority of Senators obstructed a judicial nominee who enjoyed clear majority support.” [5/23/2005] TWEET
  8. “Even with controversial nominees, the leaders of both parties historically have worked together to afford them the courtesy of an up-or-down vote.” [5/23/2005] TWEET
  9. “And three very, very distinguished nominees, whose nominations have been languishing for a number of years, are going to get an up-or-down vote. I think that is something we can all celebrate on a bipartisan basis.” [5/23/2005] TWEET
  10. “Let me repeat, all we are looking for is an up-or-down vote. We are not looking for a guaranteed outcome. But my friend from Illinois is probably suspicious that there will be success if up-or-down votes are granted because all of the judges who have been pending have bipartisan majority support.” [5/19/2005] TWEET
  11. “[T]he Republican conference intends to restore the principle that, regardless of party, any President’s judicial nominees, after full debate, deserve a simple up-or-down vote.I know that some of our colleagues wish that restoration of this principle were not required. But it is a measured step that my friends on the other side of the aisle have unfortunately made necessary. For the first time in 214 years, they have changed the Senate’s “advise and consent’’ responsibilities to “advise and obstruct.” [5/19/2005] TWEET
  12. “Thousands of Americans told President Bush and their Republican candidates for the Senate that they do not believe the President’s nominees are out of the mainstream, and they do not like a minority of the Senate preventing the Senate from discharging its constitutional duty.” [5/19/2005] TWEET
  13. “The stakes are high. The Constitution of the United States is at stake. Article 2, section 2 clearly provides the President and the President alone nominates judges. The Senate is merely empowered to give advice and consent, but our Democratic colleagues want to change the rules…. there would be the distinct possibility and in fact great likelihood, if this continues, that 41 Members of the Senate will dictate to the President of the United States who may be a member of the Supreme Court and other courts.We have made every effort to reach out and compromise, but our colleagues at least so far have refused. The only choice that remains is to hold a vote to reaffirm the traditions and precedents that have served this body so well for the last 214 years. Let us vote.” [5/19/2005] TWEET
  14. “Well, we are not going to toy with these people’s careers. They have waited patiently for years to receive the simple dignity of an up-or-down vote, and we are working to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate that existed prior to the previous Congress so they may receive one. But the fact that our Democratic colleagues are now willing to afford one or more of the individual filibustered nominees the courtesy of an up-or-down vote but not allow the same nominees collectively to receive up-or-down votes shows that our Democratic colleagues recognize that each of these nominees is deserving of an up-or-down vote. More than that, it shows the partisan and political nature of the opposition.” [5/12/2005] TWEET
  15. “Just because a majority of Senators want to restore the 200-year-old norms and traditions of the Senate, by granting a President’s judicial nominees who have majority support the simple courtesy of an up-or-down vote, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are threatening to stop this Senate dead in its tracks.” [4/14/2005] TWEET
  16. We need to recommit ourselves to the 200 year principle that in a democracy an up-or-down vote should be given to a President’s judicial nominees. It is simple. It is fair. It has been that way for over 2 centuries. And it’s served us well.” [4/14/2005] TWEET
  17. “For the first time in history, a minority of Senators, on a repeated, partisan, and systematic basis, has prevented the Senate as a whole from discharging its constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent on judicial nominations.” [3/9/2005] TWEET
  18. “Even if one strongly disagrees with the nomination, the proper course of action under Senate norms and traditions, as they have consistently been understood and applied, is not to filibuster the nominee but to vote against him or her.” [3/9/2005] TWEET
  19. “My Republican colleagues and I honored Senate tradition. We followed the constitutional directive set forth in Article II, Section 2, that the Senate as an institution as reflected by the will of the majority of its Members, render its advice and consent on the President’s nominees. We put propriety over partisanship.” [3/9/2005] TWEET
  20. “But my Democrat colleagues probably won’t give Ninth Circuit nominee Carolyn Kuhl the simple dignity of an up or down vote. Evidently she is not as “mainstream’’ as all these Democrat judges… The Senate should, as it did with Judge Paez, Judge Berzon, and other controversial Democrat nominees, give these women the simple dignity of an up or down vote.” [11/12/2003] TWEET
  21. It may have been a close election, but President Bush won. He gets to make the nominations…. My recollection — and I have been here a couple of terms myself — is that Senators don’t get to pick circuit judges. We may have a lot of influence on the selection of district judges, but Senators typically don’t get to pick circuit judges. Maybe we get to make a recommendation, but we certainly don’t get to pick them under Presidents of either party. So what is being asked in this situation is that Democratic Senators get to select circuit judges in a Republican administration.” [11/12/2003] TWEET
  22. “But despite the President doing his job and trying to fill these seats, the Senate has fallen down on the job.” [11/12/2003] TWEET
  23. “Senators can vote for them, Senators can vote against them, but these people deserve a vote. Stalling and not allowing an up-or-down vote is an indication that the system is broken.” [5/6/2003] TWEET
  24. We do expect the Senate to do what the Constitution contemplates, and that is to vote; to vote yes or no but to vote. We also expect the Senate to do the right thing by the Constitution, by this nominee, and by the President of the United States who nominated her.” [4/29/2003] TWEET