But the issue, and the answer, is different from what it is reported. The simple fact is that in the modern era Republicans have never confirmed a Supreme Court justice nominated by a Democratic President. Contrary to popular belief, there has never been a bipartisan “norm” that Presidents get deference in appointing Supreme Court justices — that has been a Democratic “norm” under Republican Presidents, but that has never been reciprocated by Republicans.
I wrote about this previously. The last time a Republican Senate confirmed a Democratic President’s Supreme Court nomination was 1895 — which was 123 years ago (and involved a Republican party with little connection to today’s party).
The facts: All of the 13 Supreme Court nominations since 1945 that were eventually approved by an opposing party [the Democrats] in the Senate were made by Republican presidents. The only Supreme Court nomination to be filibustered was the Republicans’ filibuster of LBJ’s nomination of Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice. Contrary to popular belief, Democrats did not filibuster the nomination of Robert Bork (he was defeated in a 58 to 42 straight vote) and Democrats did not filibuster the nomination of Clarence Thomas (who was approved in a 52 to 48 straight vote, with 11 Democrats contributing to the necessary vote margin). Pres. Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, was not filibustered; Republicans simply refused to hold any vote. When nominee Neil Gorsuch faced a potential filibuster by Democrats, Republicans voted to eliminate the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees. Republicans refused to allow President Obama to nominate a Supreme Court justice in a presidential election year; Democrats confirmed Anthony Kennedy in a presidential election year while Congress was considering whether to impeach President Reagan for the Iran-Contra Scandal.
In other words, Republicans today have a LOCK on the Supreme Court, and will NEVER allow anyone else in there, other than their extremist candidates who embrace racism, sexism, bigotry, fear and hatred of minorities.