The Supreme Court has been operating with eight members since Justice Antonin Scalia died in February.
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed not to allow President Obama to fill the vacancy, instead declaring that the next president should appoint Scalia’s replacement.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President,” McConnell said at the time.
McConnell has held firm. The Senate has not even held hearings on Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, leaving an often-divided court that has avoided contentious cases. The Court has become one of the top issues in the presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Now a new president might not even break the impasse. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Monday that Senate Republicans would block any Clinton nominee.
“I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” McCain said on “The Dom Giordano Program.” “I promise you. This is where we need the majority.”
McCain was on the Philadelphia radio program to support Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who faces a tough re-election bid against Democrat Katie McGinty.
McCain said he wasn’t certain Trump, whom McCain un-endorsed after the lewd “Access Hollywood” tape was released, would be any better than Clinton.
“I don’t know because I hear him saying a lot of different things,” McCain said.
Later Monday, McCain offered a slightly different tone on possible Clinton nominees.
“Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career,” his spokeswoman said in a statement obtained by Talking Points Memo.
Three of the eight Supreme Court Justices are 78 years old or older, meaning the next president could be in position to reshape the Court.
Clinton is currently leading in nearly every poll. Republicans currently control the Senate with 54 seats, but face several tough races across the nation that will determine control of the body.