Bill Clinton: ‘Superficially hypocritical’ for Trump and Republicans to push to fill Supreme Court vacancy

“Well, of course, it’s superficially hypocritical call, isn’t it? I mean, (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell wouldn’t give President (Barack) Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing 10 months before the presidential election. And that meant we went a long time with eight judges on the court,” Clinton told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“This is what they do. I think that, you know, both for Sen. McConnell and President Trump, their first value is power and they’re trying to jam the courts with as many ideological judges as they can,” Clinton, a Democrat, added.

Both Trump and McConnell have said they want to quickly approve a new justice to fill the vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at the age of 87. Many conservatives see the vacancy as an opportunity to fortify their majority on the nation’s highest court, as Republican and Democratic congressional leaders brace for a showdown over the timing and speed of the nomination process in Washington.

Clinton appointed Ginsburg, a liberal icon, to the court in 1993.

As the Senate braces for the fight over Ginsburg’s former seat, Democrats have blasted McConnell for blocking a vote on Garland in 2016 to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, even though then-President Barack Obama had nominated him in March of that year — months before the presidential election.

Clinton told Tapper that should Republicans succeed in filling the vacancy, their efforts will “further spread cynicism in our system.”

“To be fair, there is a case to be made for the argument McConnell made that in the middle of a presidential season, you should give the voters a say, that’s what he said when it was 10 months away,” Clinton said. “But when the shoe is on the other foot and he wants a judge, we’re fewer than 50 days away and that argument doesn’t cut any mustard. So … it’s going to further spread cynicism in our system and, you know, he said he wouldn’t do it.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.