Obama White House spokesman Josh Earnest remarked Thursday that Democrats would be "justified" in blocking future Republican Supreme Court nominees for four years because of the Senate's decision to not hold hearings for current nominee Merrick Garland.
Earnest was recalling a suggestion President Obama made in an interview with Fox News Sunday in which he said if Republicans continued blocking Garland until he left office then "it is almost impossible to expect" that Democrats wouldn’t retaliate if given the opportunity.
"What's to stop Democrats who are in charge of the Senate when a Republican is in office, from saying, ‘Well, we're just going to wait the four years to fill the vacancy.' There is no material difference in that argument. That would represent a breakdown of the process," Earnest said.
But Earnest went just a bit further, after a reporter asked, "Would they really do that?"
"They would be justified in doing it, based on what Republicans have done so far," Earnest said, adding "Hopefully, they — it won't come to that."
Both sides of the aisle have pointed fingers at each other for hypocrisy regarding political gamesmanship and Supreme Court nominees. However, the Republican Senate has remained steadfast that it won't hold hearings for Garland in an election year, citing precedent by Vice President Joe Biden himself.