MSNBC host Chris Matthews said Wednesday that Democrats need to say "no way" to President Donald Trump's forthcoming nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, adding that the confirmation fight to determine Kennedy's successor will be "like Spanish Civil War stuff."
Matthews began by arguing that Americans on the political left will recognize that the Supreme Court is partisan and turning against them.
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"Everybody on the left and center-left is going to say, ‘Yeah, the Supreme Court is partisan against us. This is the big one for us. We better stop this,'" he said.
Host Ali Velshi then said Matthews would probably choose a Supreme Court justice like Kennedy—a "swing vote" on the nation's highest court in recent years, siding with both his conservative and liberal colleagues in cases—over whomever Trump is likely to nominate.
Matthews responded that Trump is expected to choose a staunch conservative, adding that, historically, justices can shift from the left to the right or vice versa after they are confirmed to the high court. The MSNBC host then noted that Republican presidents have "largely picked non-Justice Kennedys, people hard-right on all social issues."
"So I would say, I think this is going to be the fight of the century," Matthews continued. "I think the Democrats have to say ‘No way, [unintelligible], no one passes this line."
The MSNBC host concluded with a dire warning.
"I think it's going to be almost like Spanish Civil War stuff. You watch the next few months," he said.
The Spanish Civil War, which took place from 1936 to 1939, was largely a fight between a democratic, left-leaning faction aligned with the communists and a nationalist, conservative faction led by Francisco Franco. The war included many atrocities and outside involvement from several other countries.
Matthews' comments came after Kennedy announced earlier on Wednesday that he will retire from the Supreme Court at the end of July, giving Trump the opportunity to pick a second nominee for the court. The Senate confirmed Trump's first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, last year.