Ted Cruz On Merrick Garland: There’s A Historical Precedent For Leaving A Supreme Court Seat Unfilled

The Washington Post reports:

Speaking to reporters after a campaign rally for a Republican U.S. Senate candidate here, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said that there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices — appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election.

“You know, I think there will be plenty of time for debate on that issue,” said Cruz, when he was asked whether a Republican-controlled Senate should hold votes on a President Hillary Clinton’s nominees. “There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”

Cruz’s remarks put him at odds with several colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including its chairman, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). “If that new president happens to be Hillary, we can’t just simply stonewall,” Grassley told reporters last week.

But Grassley made those remarks after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a Pennsylvania radio station that Republicans would be “united against any nominee” put forward by a President Clinton. McCain walked back the remarks, but the threat of a liberal justice replacing the late Antonin Scalia — a move that would create a liberal Supreme Court majority for the first time since the 1970s — has kept many Republicans in Trump’s camp.