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Daily Archives: June 29th, 2022

McConnell Says Blocking Obama Supreme Court Pick Led to Overturning Roe

Laura Litvan – 1h ago

(Bloomberg) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said his decision to block former President Barack Obama from filling a Supreme Court vacancy after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016 led directly to the reversal of the Roe v Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

© BloombergMitch McConnell

“It’s the single-most consequential decision I’ve made in my public career,” McConnell said Wednesday in remarks at a local Chamber of Commerce luncheon in his home state of Kentucky.

McConnell said his refusal to consider Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court 11 months before Donald Trump took office cleared the way for Trump to put conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench. Trump’s subsequent nominations of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — have transformed the court’s rulings by creating a court with a 6-3 conservative majority, he said.

He spoke just days after that Supreme Court majority overturned the 49-year-old Roe v. Wade. McConnell said Roe “had no basis in the Constitution whatsoever,” and said last week’s ruling “was a huge step in the right direction.”

He also praised two of the court’s recent 6-3 rulings, one that for the first time held that the Second Amendment protects gun rights outside the home and another in favor of a high school football coach who lost his job for conducting post-game prayers on the 50-yard line.

McConnell made his remarks as Democrats are working to use the court’s abortion decision as a cornerstone of efforts to try to keep control of the Senate in this fall’s midterm elections. Polls have shown that soaring inflation is the top issue for voters, but the court’s decision is seen as one that could help energize Democrats in battleground states.

McConnell’s role in altering the court is a significant one. He kept the Scalia seat vacant by urging Senate Republicans to refuse to even meet with Obama’s pick. He also permanently changed Senate rules to end filibusters in Supreme Court confirmations, enabling Gorsuch to fill the Scalia court seat after a 54-45 vote.

Kavanaugh and Barrett, who also were narrowly confirmed, benefited from the same rule change.

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