Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., defended his decision Sunday to block former President Barack Obama's last Supreme Court pick, pushing back on critics who blame him for further politicizing Supreme Court nominations.
"They don't know much history," McConnell said of his detractors during an interview with CBS News' "Face the Nation." "You have to go back to 1880 to find the last time a Senate controlled by a different party from the president confirmed a Supreme Court justice to a vacancy created in the middle of a presidential election."
"They [have] also conveniently forgotten that Joe Biden said in 1992 when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democrats controlled the Senate, a Republican in the White House, if a vacancy occurred, they wouldn't fill it," McConnell told host John Dickerson.
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McConnell condemned Dickerson for "completely misconstruing" history when he stated that former Republican President Dwight Eisenhower used a recess appointment before the 1956 presidential election to name left-leaning Supreme Court Justice William Brennan to the bench thanks to the support of a Democratic-controlled Congress. Dickerson also countered McConnell's argument related to Biden by saying Obama's vice president "was talking in the abstract."
"What I gave you was the history of this," McConnell said Sunday. "I know the history of this, I've spent a lot of time on this throughout my career. What I did was entirely consistent with what the history of the Senate's been in that situation going back to 1880. "
Garland, who is the chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was Obama's Supreme Court nominee in 2016, but was not confirmed as McConnell refused to hold a vote on the Senate floor in a presidential election year.