Sen. Crapo: Claims That Barrett’s Confirmation Violates Precedent Are ‘Simply False

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During the first day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), a member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, rebutted many of the Democrats’ arguments against Judge Barrett’s confirmation, stating that “any claim that his process is unusual or violates precedent of the Senate is simply false.”

“I think it is important to set the record straight on a few items.” Crapo began. “The first attack is that we are rushing too fast, and violating rules, customs and norms of the Senate in rushing through these proceedings.  This hearing is 16 days after Judge Barrett’s announced nomination.  More than half of all Supreme Court hearings have been held within 16 days of the announcement of the nominees.  This hearing is no different…”

“So, then, the argument is made that this is an election year and the Republicans said in 2016 that in an election year, they wouldn’t move forward with President Obama’s nomination.” He continued. “[There has been a vacancy] in a presidential election year 29 times.  Every single one of those 29 times, the sitting President made a nomination to replace the vacancy.”

“19 of those 29 times, the parties of the President and the Senate majority were the same.  17 of those nominees were confirmed.” He continued. “By contrast, of the 10 times in which the Senate was controlled by the party opposite of the President, only one time Senate proceeded to fill that vacancy.  In fact, vacancies under a divided government have not been filled for over 130 years, going back to 1888.”

“Much like when the Senate exercised its constitutional right fully consistent with precedent in 2016 not to fill the vacancy when there was divided government, the Senate is today exercising its duty to move forward with processing this nomination, just like the vast majority of Senates in the past.” Crapo continued. “Any claim that his process is unusual or violates precedent of the Senate is simply false.”

“Other attacks suggest that the Republican members of this Committee and the President are trying to engage in court packing.  That’s a novel one.  The Senate is following standard procedure with regard to a vacancy.” He added. “My colleagues on the other side are actually proposing court packing–that statutorily changes the law to add more members to the Court. That effort should be rejected.  This is not court packing. Threatening to pass a law and change the court is court packing.”