Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) rebuked the Senate’s attempts to confirm a nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court in remarks earlier today. Baker says the Senate should “allow the American people to cast their ballots” first, joining a chorus of voices who say a confirmation should be decided by the winner of November’s general election.
The efforts by the Republican-controlled Senate to hastily confirm a nominee, Baker said, is “100 percent ends-justify-the-means, classic Washington behavior.”
“It’s a big part of why most people in this country think Washington is a problem, period,” he added, before criticizing the federal government for not approving further COVID-19 economic relief.
“I sit here as the governor of the commonwealth of Mass., where we have basically been playing this hand around COVID as best we can, with a really uneven, inconsistent response from the federal government, who has far more tools in their toolbox than any state’s ever going to have to manage their way through this,” Baker said.
He added: “And they are now going to wrap themselves up in a conversation about the Supreme Court, which is important, but nobody looks good with respect to how they’ve chosen to position themselves over the course of the last four years on this issue at a point time when what I would really like to see them focus on is the pandemic — which has killed 200,000 people in the United States of America so far, and continues to wreak havoc on our economy and our communities across not just the commonwealth but across the country. So yeah, I’d like to see them focus on the pandemic.”
Democrats have railed against what they’ve said is the Republican hypocrisy of rushing to appoint a new Supreme Court justice. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already announced that he would like to bring President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Senate floor for a confirmation hearing and a vote. In 2016, McConnell infamously denied Merrick Garland, former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, a hearing, arguing that it would be inappropriate for a president to appoint a new justice during an election year.
Baker noted that Democrats have amended their position from 2016: “The Democrats all said it was incredibly important to move forward to put in a person on the bench, right?” he said. “And the Republicans all said, ‘No, that’s a really bad idea.’ Four years later, only because the circumstances have changed, Republicans say, ‘We need to move forward, it’s a critical issue for the country,’ and the Democrats say, ‘No, we should wait until after the election.’”