On Monday, conservative Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia) said that he would not support a Senate vote to confirm President Joe Biden’s pick for a Supreme Court seat if a vacancy opened up right before the 2024 presidential election.
When asked by reporters how he would respond if another Supreme Court seat opened up weeks before an election, Manchin claimed that it would be “hypocritical” for him to vote for a nominee through a rushed process, since he opposed the nomination of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed by former President Donald Trump and Republicans just before the 2020 election.
“If it comes a week or two weeks before like it did with our last Supreme Court nominee, I think that’s a time it should go to the next election,” Manchin added.
The senator’s words provoked the ire of political commentators on social media, who believed that Manchin was referring to the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, rather than the presidential election in 2024.
“You can be Charlie Brown. Or you can be Lucy holding the football,” said Justin Baragona, a media reporter for The Daily Beast. “Or you can be Joe Manchin, who is both.”
Manchin later clarified his comments. “I was referring to that election, before a major presidential election,” Manchin told reporters.
Republicans have repeatedly acted in bad faith when it comes to approving or blocking Supreme Court nominees. They blocked now-Attorney General Merrick Garland’s confirmation when former President Barack Obama nominated him in 2016 – ostensibly because it was an election year – but approved Barrett’s nomination directly before the 2020 election.
The Senate is currently preparing to vote on a nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who will be retiring at the end of the Supreme Court term. President Joe Biden has pledged to nominate a Black woman to fill the seat and is expected to name his first pick by the end of the month; Manchin has signaled that he will support Biden’s choice.