Election 2016 Justice

John McCain Vows to Block President Clinton’s Supreme Court Nominees

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Senate Republicans have spent most of the year justifying their blockade of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland by saying the next president should fill Antonin Scalia's empty seat, but their obstruction probably won't end there.

Senator John McCain, who is facing his own challenge in Arizona, spoke to a Philadelphia radio station and said Senate Republicans will unite to block President Hillary Clinton's nominees.

"I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up," McCain said. "I promise you. This is where we need the majority and Pat Toomey is probably as articulate and effective on the floor of the Senate as anyone I have encountered."

Even if Democrats gain control of the Senate, it's highly likely that Republicans will filibuster President Clinton's Supreme Court nominees.

In that event, Senate Democrats will have all the justification they need to end the filibuster once and for all and move forward with simple majorities. There will be no other choice.

If Democrats do not gain control of the Senate, we're looking at the possibility of a permanent vacancy on the Supreme Court and possibly even dozens of other federal jurisdictions where Republicans have already committed themselves to blocking lower court nominees.

I probably don't need to spell out what that could mean, but suffice to say a permanent vacancy would be a legal quagmire that could leave very big questions without a clear answer if a deadlocked court cannot rule for or against any particular issue.

Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress has more analysis on what this could mean and it truly is nightmare fuel.

If you live in Arizona, get out and vote for Ann Kirkpatrick.

  • Aynwrong

    Oh and everybody remember, McCain is a “maverick.” I think he even used to call himself that. Makes you want to throw something, doesn’t it?

  • Victor the Crab

    What McCain and his GOP ilk are threatening just proves to rational people that they are no better than Donald Drumph and his crazy sickos that follow him.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Is it possible these people are so morbid and ghoulish as to be imagining that by keeping Scalia’s seat unfilled they’ll get their majority back when RBG dies?

    • Aynwrong

      They probably are. These people are not patriots.

  • David Greenberg

    Once again the real McCain shows up. If any of you have the time and inclination read the following article and you will see who he really is. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/make-believe-maverick-20081016 this includes some info about his time as a pow.

  • Aynwrong

    Unreal. If Clinton wins the Democrats will have control of the White House for twelve years straight. That means the people have spoken. A greater faith has been placed in one party over the other. We’ve seen the destructive influence Conservative Justices have on the court and yet Democrats have allowed the process to move forward when a Republican was into White House.

    It’s telling that they are so willing to use procedural methods to cling any amount of power they can despite electoral results. This seems to be all they believe anymore. If the wrong party is in power just grind governance to a halt.

    Just an odd thought. If the Rs really do this and just refuse to allow appointments to the court it backfire on them in one very morbid fashion. What if the next justice to pass away is a conservative leaning one? The court would immediately shift to the left and no longer be capable of a tie. Of course if the next Justice to pass away left leaning it would be more or less what it what it was for years. This should not be how our country is governed.

    The entire Republican party is simply incapable and untrustworthy of governance.

  • Draxiar

    Why do Republicans hate the way our Government is supposed to work?

    • Christopher Foxx

      Because it means they won’t always get their way. And like any other petulant toddler, they don’t like that.

  • Badgerite

    In case the good Senator from Arizona was wondering, what he is proposing is as blatant an abuse of power as you can get. The Senate has the right to advise and consent to the nominee. Nowhere does that right state or imply or ever intend a right of obstruction of the proper duties of the executive and the proper functioning of the judicial branch. They have already obstructed both of those constitutionally prescribed roles for going on a year now. That is beyond the pale, constitutionally speaking. America is about sharing power. Checks and balances. He proposes to under cut all of those things. He is not much better than the people who huff and puff and say they will take up arms, etc, should they lose the presidential election.
    There is a reason these people do as they do. And it is because the modern GOP and its propaganda arm has enabled and encouraged this. I respect Senator McCain’s military service. But he is wedded to a past of division, resentment and hostility. It would seem he cannot accept a country where power is shared. Where checks and balances are taken seriously. What he is proposing is simply a blatant abuse of power. Pure and simple. It could destroy the credibility and the effectiveness of the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court is a very important institution. It should not be held hostage to a Congressional crazy caucus.

    • muselet

      He is not much better than the people who huff and puff and say they will take up arms, etc, should they lose the presidential election.

      I must respectfully disagree. John McCain is far worse. He has repeatedly sworn an oath (5 USC 3331)—

      I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

      —that (most of) the gun-humping, Trump-supporting yahoos with their fantasies of sedition have not. McCain should know better. That he does not—or pretends not to in order to gain electoral advantage—should be seen as disqualifying.


      • Badgerite

        I know. I try to cut him some slack because of what he went through in Vietnam. But what he is proposing is straight up unconstitutional abuse of power.

    • Christopher Foxx

      It could destroy the credibility and the effectiveness of the Supreme Court.

      No. His threat to oppose any nominee is a recognition of the effectiveness of the Supreme Court. And the only thing losing credibility is McCain and the Republicans in Congress. (Assuming they have any credibility left to lose.)

      • Badgerite


  • Username1016

    ONE permanent vacancy? Two of the remaining justices are over eighty. If Hillary’s in office four years it could be THREE permanent vacancies — if eight years, the 78-year-old (Breyer) would be 86, so make that FOUR. This is ridiculous. Stop throwing sand in the gears, you damned obstructionists!

    • Christopher Foxx

      I’ve been saying it for ages, even before Scalia went to hell. The next President will nominate at least two and possible as many as four Justices. If for no other reason at all, that alone makes this election tremendously important.

      Presidents can affect how things go for up to a decade. The Supreme Court can affect how things go for generations.

  • muselet

    Can we all please stop pretending John Sidney McCain III is in any way, shape or form a principled man?

    Thank you in advance.


  • I’ll definitely be voting for Ann but the polls don’t look good. Fuck McCain, seriously.

  • Treasonous, hypocritical, un-American, and downright horrible. Not surprising, but all of the rest of those things.