- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 27, 2016

The White House lashed out at Sen. Ted Cruz Thursday, accusing him of “selfish” motives after the lawmaker suggested he might block any Supreme Court nomination by Hillary Clinton if she wins the election.

“This is not new for Senator Cruz,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “He’s somebody who shut down the government over the objection of some people in his party, just to try to raise his own profile and advance his own political interest.”

Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican, said Wednesday there is a “long historical precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices.

“That’s a debate we’re going to have,” Mr. Cruz said.

Senate Republicans have refused to hold confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, who is President Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Mike Lee of Utah also have indicated they would oppose Mrs. Clinton’s Supreme Court nominees if she wins the presidency, although Mr. McCain’s office said he would support up-or-down votes on the nominations.

Mr. Earnest said Mr. Cruz’s effort to shut down the government in 2013 “didn’t help our economy” or make Congress function more effectively.

“He doesn’t have anything to show for those kinds of tactics, other than a selfish desire to make himself look better among his group of supporters,” Mr. Earnest said.

He said the Republican lawmakers’ collective vow to block Mrs. Clinton’s Supreme Court nominees “is the clearest evidence” that the GOP wants to preserve gridlock in Washington in the next administration.

“All Republicans … have indicated that they should be reelected so that they can provide a check or counter an incoming Clinton administration,” Mr. Earnest said. “Voters who hear that message are basically hearing Republicans promise more of the same kind of Republican Congressional dysfunction that’s infected Washington for the last six years.”

Alliance for Justice Action Campaign President Nan Aron said Mr. Cruz revealed the “Republican blueprint for a Hillary Clinton presidency” of obstruction and blockade.

“This is the game plan now: kneecap the federal judiciary, shred the Constitution,” she said. “All those things Republicans said about letting the American people have a say in the next Supreme Court nomination? They’ve been exposed as the lies they were.”

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