Barrasso: Republicans Are Not Hypocrites By Filling Supreme Court Vacancy

Sen. John Barrasso said filling the Supreme Court vacancy is consistent with the "Joe Biden rule".

Annaliese Wiederspahn

September 20, 20203 min read

Barrasso meet the press

Sen. John Barrasso was pretty clear: there is no hypocrisy on the part of the Republican-controlled Senate by moving forward to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Wyoming’s junior senator, appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, was repeatedly accused by host Chuck Todd of saying one thing in 2016 and another thing in 2020, but Barrasso didn’t budge.

Barrasso said Republican Leadership — four years ago and now — are merely following the rules as established by Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden when he was the chairman of the Judiciary Committee back in 1988.

“Joe Biden was clear when he said when there is a Senate of one party and a White House of the other — and he said this to President George Herbert Walker Bush — if there’s a vacancy in that final year, we will not confirm and that’s what (Republicans) did with Merrick Garland,” Barrasso said of President Obama’s selection for the Supreme Court who did not receive a hearing in 2016.

“But 29 times, Chuck, there have been vacancies in the year of a presidential election and if both the White House and the Senate are of the same party, they go forward with the confirmation,” he said.

Todd didn’t put much stock in the “division of power” argument, calling it a footnote and a new explanation.

“Not once did you say: ‘Oh, it depends on what party the Senate holds versus the party of the President,’ Todd said. “This just sounds like a power grab pure and simple.”

Barrasso didn’t flinch. He said to Todd, again, Republicans were merely following the “Biden rule” and because the White House and the Senate are of the same party, they are going to attempt to fill the vacancy.

“I can tell you what’s going to happen. The president is going to make a nomination and I believe it’s going to be this week,” he said. “We will hold hearings and there will be a vote on the floor of the United States Senate this year.”

Clearly frustrated, Todd attempted one last time to get a different reaction from Barrasso by saying Republicans will look like hypocrites and their arguments will make “no sense to the average person.”

It didn’t work. Barrasso held strong.

“This is the consistent principle and policies that have been followed through the history of the United States when 29 vacancies occurred in years of presidential elections. We’re going to be consistent with all of that,” he said.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter