Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) conceded on Sunday that Republicans were being hypocritical on their push to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the election, insisting that whatever party is in power will “do what they think is right.”
With Republicans rushing to get the Supreme Court seat left open by liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death filled just weeks ahead of the November election, the GOP has faced backlash and charges of hypocrisy for citing the 2016 election as the reason they held up Merrick Garland’s nomination.
Interviewing Kennedy on Fox News Sunday, guest host Brit Hume brought up the Garland situation, noting that Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said at the time that the American people should have a say in the court pick since it was during an election year.
“Now it seems that the roles are reversed,” Hume stated. “The president has made a nomination. It is an election year, indeed it is very close to the election and you and the other Republicans are prepared to move forward with this, which is distinct, obviously, from the course you took just four years or so ago. You’re being accused of hypocrisy and double standards. How do you answer?”
Kennedy first called on his Democratic colleagues to give the Republicans a “respectful process” and not “another freakshow” before saying the Constitution is “unaffected by the electoral calendar” when it comes to filling a Supreme Court seat. The conservative lawmaker then went on to admit that the majority in power will essentially follow whatever rules they want.
“Here’s as best as I can tell, here’s the rule,” he said. “When the Democrats are in charge of the process, they do what they think is right, consistent with the Constitution. When the Republicans are in charge of the process, they do what they think is right.”
“And I think that’s what our founders intended,” Kennedy added. “I think our founders intended elections to have consequences and when they send people to Washington of a particular party, they expect them to represent their voters. And I think that’s been the tradition and the precedents.”
Hume followed up by claiming Kennedy was “spot on” in his view of the Constitution as it doesn’t say anything about the election process in Supreme Court nominations. He then pressed him again on thehypocrisy charges.
“Would you not acknowledge that what we have here is a serious case on both sides of this issue of shoe-on-the-other-foot disease?” Hume wondered aloud.
“Sure, absolutely,” the Louisiana senator answered. “And that’s why I say if you, and Washington, as you know better than I do, you have to watch what people do, not what they say.”
“And if you watch what has happened in the history of ever I don’t think there’s ever been another instance where whe the Democrats were in charge they didn’t do what they wanted and when the Republicans were in charge they didn’t do what they wanted,” he continued. “If the shoe were on the other foot, that I can assure you Senator Schumer would do what the Republicans are doing right now. As I said the other day, if you don’t believe that, you probably peaked in high school.”