Schumer Floor Remarks Confirming The Senate Has Never Considered A Supreme Court Nomination This Close To A Presidential Election Day And Forcing A Floor Vote To Uphold That Precedent

October 21, 2020

Washington, D.C. — Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on how the Senate has  never considered a Supreme Court nomination this close to a presidential election day. Senator Schumer asked the presiding officer to confirm this fact, which he did. Senator Schumer then forced a vote on a point of order that it should not be in order to consider a Supreme Court nominee based on that precedent. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Leader McConnell has argued that what the Republican majority is doing by ramming a Supreme Court Justice through the Senate mere days before a national presidential election is completely normal. That it’s perfectly consistent with precedent.

This is not true. There is no precedent in history of the Senate for confirming a Supreme Court Justice this close to an election.

There’s never been—never been—a Supreme Court Justice confirmed after July of an election year.

President Lincoln, a great Republican president, one of our foremost national heroes, rejected the opportunity to nominate someone for the Supreme Court close to an election.

And I dare say every single Republican Senator already knows this… because they all argued that exact position four years ago!

Republicans all argued that the Senate shouldn’t confirm Justices in presidential election years because of the supposed principle that “the American people deserve a voice.”

Senate Republicans made that argument eight months before the election. Now they are rushing to confirm a Supreme Court Justice eight days before the election. While Americans wait in line to cast their ballots. They’re waiting in line. They’re voting. Millions of Americans, tens of millions of Americans, have already voted.

I have no doubt that Republicans would confirm a Justice eight minutes before Election Day if it meant they got their Justice.

You could not design a set of circumstances more hypocritical than this. The truth is that the Republican majority is perpetrating the most rushed, most partisan, least legitimate process in the long history of Supreme Court nominations.

And Republicans, at the very least, ought to go on the record and admit that this is an extraordinary breach of fairness, of comity, of honor, of truth, consistency, and of course precedent – a black and indelible mark on this Senate Majority.

                         So, Mr. President, Parliamentary Inquiry: Has the Senate ever considered a nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States this close to a presidential election?

Chair:              According to the Parliamentarian, the Secretary of the Senate’s office confirms that it has not.

                         So, Mr. President, I make a point of order that it should not be in order to consider a nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States this close to a presidential election.

Chair:              The point of order is not ripe for decision and is not sustained.

                        I appeal the ruling of the chair.

I move to table the appeal and ask for the yeas and nays.