MSNBC host Chris Matthews sounded the alarm for Democrats after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would retire on Wednesday.
MSNBC host Chris Matthews sounded the alarm for Democrats and urged them to resist Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's campaign after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he would retire on Wednesday.
"It's time for Democrats to play hardball," Matthews said during his opening monologue Wednesday night. "There are times to fight and this is one of them."
"If the Democrats in the US Senate allow President Trump to pack the Supreme Court with a 5-4 majority for the next 30 years, it's not something the progressive Democratic voter will soon forget."
Matthews referenced McConnell's move in 2016 to stall President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland. McConnell claimed that waiting for the next president to take office was the prudent move.
"The next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the court’s direction," McConnell said in 2016.
The political maneuver paid off once Trump took office and chose Judge Neil Gorsuch, a historically conservative judge, to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
McConnell "mocked the Democrats" by refusing to hold a hearing for Judge Garland, according to Matthews, who advised Democrats to apply the same tactic.
"Democrats owe it to their party, their principles, and to their own survival to do to Mitch what Mitch did to them," Matthews said. "If this strikes anyone as a manifesto from me, so be it. But it is in truth, a statement of political reality."
Justice Kennedy, 82, announced he would retire from the bench on July 31 after serving since 1988. He is the longest-serving justice to sit on the Supreme Court.
"It has been the greatest honor and privilege to serve our nation in the federal judiciary for 43 years, 30 of those years on the Supreme Court," Kennedy said in a statement.
Justice Kennedy, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been viewed as a conservative justice with a few progressive opinions.
"Hopefully, we're going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding," Trump said to reporters after the announcement. "He is a very spectacular man. Really a spectacular man."