That didn't take long.
A former Obama adviser set the stage for a potentially nasty confirmation fight in the Senate next year within an hour of the Supreme Court announcing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recently completed three weeks of radiation treatment after doctors found a localized cancerous tumor on her pancreas.
"If there is a SCOTUS vacancy next year and @senatemajldr carries through on his extraordinary promise to fill it-despite his own previous precedent in blocking Garland-it will tear this country apart," David Axelrod said in a tweet Friday afternoon.
He was referring to how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier this year that the Senate would consider a presidential nominee to fill a vacancy on the court if one occurred in 2020.
“Oh, we’d fill it," the Kentucky Republican said at an event in May.
That upset Democrats who remember the role McConnell played in blocking consideration of then-President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. At the time, he defended Republicans’ decision not to hold a confirmation hearing for Garland because it was a presidential election year.
Facing accusations of hypocrisy after McConnell seemingly changed his mind this year, his office claimed the senator was being consistent because he stressed that the issue three years ago was that the White House and Senate were held by different parties. In 2020, both the White House and Senate will be in Republican control.
Ginsburg, who is 86, has battled various illnesses over the last 20 years. The Supreme Court said in a statement Friday that she “tolerated the treatment well" and concluded that there is no evidence of disease elsewhere in her body.
After a third bout with cancer earlier this year, Ginsburg told NPR in July that she has no plans to retire anytime soon. She said her plan is to "stay longer" than the late Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired from the high court in 2010 at the age of 90.