September 21, 2020/Media, War Room

Quick Refresh of John Cornyn’s Thoughts on Filling SCOTUS Vacancies in Election Years

Austin, Texas — It took vulnerable incumbent Senator John Cornyn two minutes to fall in line with Mitch McConnell on filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

However, Senator Cornyn was faced with a nearly identical scenario in 2016, and made clear his position that the Senate should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee during a presidential election year.

As he shamelessly embraces McConnell’s hypocrisy, Cornyn finds himself in the toughest race of his political career. Two polls released in the last few days showed Cornyn’s race with decorated combat veteran and working mom MJ Hegar within a few points.

Here’s What Cornyn had to Say Back in 2016:


  • I believe the American people deserve to have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court Justice, and the best way to ensure that happens is to have the Senate consider a nomination made by the next President.” 
  • “Confirming a new Supreme Court Justice during a presidential election year for a vacancy arising that same year is not common in our nation’s history; the last time it happened was in 1932.”
  • “The direction of the court is now in question, and the Senate has an essential role to play. At this critical junction in our history, the American people should have the opportunity for their voice to be heard.


  • I think it is only a matter of fundamental fairness to apply the same rules to the same situation no matter who is in the majority and who is in the minority.” [John Cornyn, Floor Speech, 3/17/16]

  • “‘There should not be a hearing in the Judiciary Committee for anyone that the president nominates,’ Cornyn said Feb. 23, following the committee’s vote to deny hearings. ‘It’s not about the personality, it’s about the principle … that it’s up to the American people in this next election, no matter who they choose, to make the nomination for this important seat on the Supreme Court.‘” [Dallas Morning News, 4/5/16]

  • Cornyn, McConnell’s deputy, agreed that it should be left to the next president to pick Scalia’s successor. Still, Cornyn said it was up to Grassley to decide whether to schedule a hearing, and to McConnell to decide on a full Senate vote if the Judiciary Committee were to vote on the nominee.” [Associated Press, 2/17/16]

  • Cornyn said Wednesday that allowing the next president to fill Scalia’s vacancy is the only way to ensure that Americans have a voice in the process.” [Austin American Statesman, 8/16/16]

  • “Cornyn, Cruz and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have said they won’t hold hearings on Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, because they want to wait for the next president to be elected and take office.” [El Paso Times, 5/6/16]

  • “Cornyn, a Texas Republican, was clear when asked Monday if there should be any hearings. ‘No,’ he told CNN. ‘My view is that this is not about the potential nominee; it’s about who chooses. And I believe strongly this should be a referendum on who chooses in November.’” [CNN, 2/22/16]

  • “[W]e’re in the midst of a presidential election, Republicans are picking our candidate, Democrats are picking their candidate, and what we’d like to do is give the American people a voice on who gets to make that appointment on the Supreme, for the next Justice on the Supreme Court who will serve for 25 or 30 years.” [Texas Alliance For Life, Luncheon with Senator John Cornyn, 4/1/16]

  • [I]t’s up to the American people in this next election, no matter who they choose, to make the nomination for this important seat on the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia served for 30 years, so this clearly extends far beyond President Obama’s term of office. It’s that important.” [CSPAN, 2/23/16]

  • [W]e’re in the midst of a presidential election and the voters are gonna be able to choose the president who is going to make that decision, and so rather than do it now with the controversy being basically shut down in terms of doing other things, that that is the principle.” [YouTube, Community Impact Newspaper, 4/12/16]

  • “[T]he confirmation process has become so controversial that if we were going to take up a Supreme Court nominee during the last nine months of this president’s administration, we wouldn’t do anything else.” [YouTube, Community Impact Newspaper, 4/12/16]

  • “[T]his nomination will change the ideological balance of the Supreme Court for a generation… I believe the American people should have their voices heard in the selection of the next Supreme Court nominee. We have already undertaken the process here of the Democrats choosing their nominee for President, and Republicans are doing the same. There is simply too much at stake to leave this decision in the hands of a President who is headed out the door—a decision that will have dramatic consequences on the balance of the Court and the direction of the country for a generation to come.” [John Cornyn, Floor Speech, 3/17/16]

  • “So at this critical juncture in our Nation’s history, the American people should have a voice in deciding who selects the next Justice on the Supreme Court. I and my colleagues are absolutely committed to making sure they have that voice.” [John Cornyn, Floor Speech, 3/8/16]

  • This is more than just about hypocrisy; this is really about an important principle. It is important to allow the voters, in choosing the next President of the United States, to make that decision and make sure their voice is heard rather than just 100 Members of the Senate. I don’t know why that should be objectionable.” [John Cornyn, Floor Speech, 3/15/16]

  • “Do they expect us to operate under a different set of rules than they themselves advocated for?” [John Cornyn, Floor Speech, 3/8/16]

With a record like that, is it any wonder Cornyn has taken to hiding from the media and dodging debate challenges?