Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) may have accidentally revealed the Democrats’ long-term plan for the vacant Supreme Court seat, if Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is somehow derailed: they plan to oppose any attempt to fill it until after the 2020 presidential election.
Hirono gave a lengthy interview to media Tuesday, according to The Washington Free Beacon, where she insisted that a Supreme Court seat could remain vacant for years, particularly in light of how Republicans treated former President Barack Obama’s final Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.
“I think we’ve had those kinds of vacancies before, and we certainly had over a one-year vacancy with Merrick Garland,” Hirono said. “So the world does not come to an end because we don’t fill all of the nominees.”
Keeping that seat clear would be tough to do, especially given that the Republicans are expected to hold on to at least a one-seat majority in the Senate — and thanks to Harry Reid, that’s all they’d need to confirm a new Justice.
It’s also a difficult strategy to justify, as Sen. Hirono herself pointed out in 2016 when she announced that “[i]t is unprecedented to announce unilaterally that no part of advice and consent will occur until after an election,” in response to — of course — the Republicans’ refusal to hold confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland just weeks before a presidential election.