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McConnell Dismisses Democrats' Claims Of Hypocrisy On Supreme Court Nominee

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Despite harsh criticism from Democratic lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., has pledged to work quickly to confirm President Donald Trump's eventual nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

McConnell refused to consider former President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 due to the upcoming presidential election but has argued the same rules do not apply in non-presidential election years.

During an appearance on Fox News on Thursday, McConnell was asked to respond to remarks by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who claimed the Republican leader "set the rules" by not allowing "a Supreme Court justice during an election year."

"She left out an important word. What I said in 2016 is that we shouldn't fill a Supreme Court vacancy in the middle of a presidential election year," McConnell said. "The last time I looked, there's no presidential election this year."

McConnell noted that three current members of the Supreme Court were confirmed in non-presidential election years but failed to mention that five justices were both nominated and confirmed during presidential election years since 1912.

"The president's nominee to this Kennedy vacancy will be confirmed in a non-presidential election year," McConnell declared, noting that Trump is expected to announce his nominee "rather soon."

Reports have indicated the White House hopes to unveil Trump's nominee before the president heads to Europe on July 10th for a NATO summit and his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

McConnell said the senate should be able to work through the confirmation process in time for the new justice to be seated before the Supreme Court's fall term, which begins in early October.

The Republican leader also dismissed concerns about the generational impact Trump's nominee could have on the Supreme Court, arguing Kennedy's replacement is not likely to dramatically change the court's current right-of-center leaning.

"I don't know why the Democrats are so alarmed," McConnell said. "They've already been unhappy with most of the decisions reached by the current Supreme Court."

Democrats have warned that Trump's next nominee could have a negative impact on abortion rights, gay rights, immigration and other important issues for decades.

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