The Graphic Truth: SCOTUS vacancies in presidential election years
When US Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 — 269 days before the US election — Senate Republicans blocked then-President Obama from filling the vacancy, arguing that — ostensibly to respect the wishes of the voting public — the Supreme Court seat should be filled only after the the next US president was elected some nine months later. That precedent is now at the heart of the debate over whether the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday just 46 days before Americans head to the polls, should be filled immediately — or whether the process should be put on hold until the dust settles from the upcoming presidential election on November 3. President Trump has already pledged to nominate her replacement, and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (who stalled the process in 2016) says he will put the nomination to a vote. It's an argument of power vs precedent. But what has happened in the past when Supreme Court seats have opened up in election years? We take a look at the ten vacancies that occurred closest to the vote in past years.