Washington – After a meeting with President Obama late Friday, Gov. Dannel Malloy accused Republican senators of “terrible lies” in claiming it’s too late in the president’s term for him to pick a Supreme Court nominee.
The Connecticut governor said Republican claims that Supreme Court candidates have not been confirmed this late in a president’s last term are a “pretend story.”
“Those are terrible lies,” Malloy said.
Very few times in American history has a Supreme Court justice died in office, prompting an unexpected search for a replacement. But former President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice Anthony Kennedy in late 1987 following the retirement of Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
Kennedy was confirmed the next year, the last of Reagan’s second term.
Malloy also said Republican senators should hold confirmation hearings and a confirmation vote on Obama’s nominee, who has yet to be disclosed.
“If you are a senator of the United States, you have to do your job,” Malloy said.
The governor’s comments came as the body of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last Saturday, was lying in state in the Supreme Court. Governors from both parties are in town for the weekend for the National Governor’s Association winter meeting.
Malloy, head of the Democratic Governors Association, was leading a group of about a dozen Democratic governors on a visit with Obama. The meeting centered mainly on raising the minimum wage and implementing paid sick leave, two measures Malloy has already successfully undertaken in Connecticut.
But Malloy also said the president spoke briefly with the governors about the need to fill Scalia’s seat.
“He didn’t involve us in his thinking process, but it is evident one [nomination] is coming,” Malloy said.
Malloy’s mission as head of the DGA is to keep as many governor’s seats in the Democratic column come November’s elections. It will be a tough job since most of the 12 gubernatorial seats in play this year are held by Democrats.
“It’s not going to be an easy year, but it’s going to be a great year,” Malloy said.
When asked by reporters whether the nomination of Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont – both Democratic candidates for the White House — would make that job easier, Malloy said he personally supports Clinton.
“I do believe she is the best candidate and would have the broadest appeal,” he said.
Asked whether he believed Sanders is electable, Malloy responded with a question: “He was elected in Vermont, wasn’t he?”
Before he returns to Connecticut late Monday, Malloy will meet with a number of Obama administration officials and other governors. He is scheduled to return to the White House two more times.
One of the top issues at the conference is the opioid abuse epidemic that is vexing most of the nation’s governors.