This morning, Senator Thom Tillis announced he was caving to his party bosses and will try to ram through a Supreme Court nomination less than two months before a Presidential election, in which North Carolinians have already started to cast ballots. Senator Tillis’ announcement not only contradicts his position from 2016 that the American people should be heard before filling a Supreme Court vacancy in a Presidential election year, but he’s now breaking a promise he made to North Carolinians that he would “consistently uphold” that principle “regardless of whether the tables are turned.”
In 2016, Senator Tillis repeatedly said that action on a SCOTUS nominee should wait until after the election:
“Once the political season is underway, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.” [U.S. Senate, 2/26/16]
“Voters — not a lame-duck president — should decide the composition of the highest court in the land.” [USA Today, 8/9/16]
He later promised North Carolinians that he would “consistently uphold” that principle “regardless of whether the tables are turned”:
“That is a principle that I embraced as a new member of the Senate that I will consistently uphold regardless of whether the tables are turned. I think we were in a situation where it would have been hyper-politicized, it would have become a circus here, and I think that that was a good reason to wait to hear the vote of the people.” [Meet The Press Daily, 3/21/17]
Senator Tillis is again caving to his party bosses, similar to how he folded in 2016. Then, he initially cautioned against “being obstructionist” by blocking a nominee “sight unseen.” A week later, Tillis was “back in step” after caving to Mitch McConnell, saying he would block any nominee and not even give them a hearing. “What a disappointment,” one columnist wrote.
“After caving on his principles to appease his party bosses in 2016, Senator Tillis is doing the same while also breaking his promise to North Carolinians,” NCDP spokesperson Robert Howard said. “Senator Tillis again is showing that he’s too weak to be a champion for North Carolina and instead will do whatever Mitch McConnell and his party bosses tell him to do. This broken promise will mark a shameless, spineless end to the career of a shameless, spineless politician.”