Is this the best Supreme Court deal Republicans can get?

Garland Obama

President Obama has called Senate Republicans’ bluff, in just about the biggest way that was also realistic. From the Washington Post:

“President Obama announced Wednesday he is nominating Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, setting up a protracted political fight with Republicans who have vowed to block any candidate picked by the White House.

“Garland, 63, is a longtime Washington lawyer and jurist who is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Considered a moderate, Garland is widely respected in the D.C. legal community and was also a finalist for the first two Supreme Court vacancies Obama filled.

“Seven sitting Republican senators voted to confirm Garland in 1997: Dan Coats (Ind.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James M. Inhofe (Okla.), John McCain (Ariz.), and Pat Roberts (Kan.).

“GOP lawmakers, though, have said since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last month that Obama should leave the choice of a new justice to his successor and that they have no intention of holding a hearing or a vote on the president’s pick.”

I call it the biggest, most realistic way Obama could call their bluff because Garland is probably the most acceptable choice Obama would actually make. He wasn’t going to call their bluff by nominating someone like William Pryor or Miguel Estrada. But nor did he choose another clearly liberal figure like Elena Kagan. Garland is probably the most moderate choice he could make, and his age — he’d be the oldest person to join the court since Lewis Powell in 1972 — means his career would probably be closer to 15 years than the 30 or more years a younger candidate might serve. So his selection presents the GOP with a bigger dilemma than they might have anticipated.

As I wrote before, a choice like this might be the best outcome Republicans could actually get at this point. Garland doesn’t hold conservative views on issues such as gun control, but the idea Obama would nominate someone completely amenable to conservatives is fantasy. So is the notion a Republican Party that is in the process of tearing itself apart will somehow end up putting forward a conservative presidential nominee who can win in November and nominate a conservative to the court. The results of Tuesday’s voting make it more likely than ever that the next president — for whom senators have been trying to run out the clock — will be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. And it’s probably no coincidence Obama revealed his choice after those results came in. Trump’s choice is utterly unpredictable, and in any case his nomination would make it more likely Clinton would win the election. Clinton’s path is easy to predict: She’d choose someone far more liberal, and probably younger, than Garland. This is the bind in which Republican senators find themselves.

Do I wish Republican voters were giving senators more hope that an actual conservative will become president and nominate a truly fitting replacement for Antonin Scalia? Absolutely. But as they say, elections have consequences — and in this case, so do primary elections. Call this the first conservative casualty of Donald Trump’s campaign.

Reader Comments 0

57 comments
lvg
lvg

Trump might pick Palin for the Supreme Court or Michelle Bachmann

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Kyle,

I agree with you.  Obama went moderate and the ball is in the GOP's hands now.  If recent history is any indication, the GOP will block, hem, haw, and generally make fools of themselves by ignoring their constitutional duty to give a vote. 

I mean, I'd LIKE to say the GOP won't shoot themselves in the foot again and again, but from where I see it, they'll keep on shooting themselves in the foot and try to blame Obama for sore feet. 

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

Already the narrative is Garland is anti-gun, anti-2nd-amendment. 


Geez. Just can't work with these folks. Whatevs. Just perpetuates the status  of a do-nothing Congress. A win-win for Obama. Checkmate.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@CardiganBoy @McGarnagle


I don't think Obama is great by any means but his approval rating is in the high 40s and congress is in the low teens so do the math. He's running laps around these knuckleheads.

JKesler24
JKesler24

Careful Kyle, this kind of talk will get you kicked out of the GOP.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Kyle you must be making your own clothes and riding a mule because you are advocating being a settler.  If we get a third term of Obama, which means at least two SCOTUS picks and maybe more, the country is going to be so far down the socialist big government rat hole, what is the point.  I think this is the hill to die on.  


People who think they can just write off this election because they don't like the candidate representing the GOP are just plain silly.  It is like going off and leaving your Hells Angel nephew and his friends to house sit for two weeks, just because you wouldn't like the conflict if you tried to stay.  You will not be happy when you get back to the house. 


You go with what you got and fight like a demon when your are fighting for your home and livelihood.  Settling has given us this mess we are in, as the establishment GOP has been just settling for and capitulating with Obama in hopes they can win it all.  


We haven't even picked our candidate and the settlers are bargaining for scraps.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Hedley_Lammar @RafeHollister Name something that he hasn't gotten his way on, after a bunch of blustering by the GOP.  The Iranian capitulation deal, two very liberal SCOTUS picks, the Cromnibus spending spree, changing Obamacare to keep it functioning, TPA, Executive orders on immigration, etc.


if the GOP exists to bargain for and accept crumbs, they might as well just turn it all over to the Dems and give up the ghost.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister  the establishment GOP has been just settling for and capitulating with Obama in hopes they can win it all.  


One truly has to be living in a fantasyland to believe anything close to that is reality.


Its shocking.

332-206
332-206

I remember when Rafe used to have good sense...

ByteMe
ByteMe

Ok, too damn funny.  Some Republicans are now floating the idea that they would be ok confirming Garland after the election when Obama is a "lame duck."  WAIT A MINUTE!  Wasn't the justification for not even meeting with the nominee because Obama was supposedly a "lame duck" today?

Ok, maybe not funny in a ha-ha way, more like funny in a "Trump is comin' to git you because this is the crap you pull" way.

Cobbian
Cobbian

Obama did his job.  He nominated someone to fill the slot.  But he did more.  Obama nominated someone who in less fraught times would be a good candidate, acceptable to many on both sides of the political divide.  


What Obama did is show the Republicans up for their being the "Party of 'No'".   For being the obstructionists they have been.  For being against Obama far more than they are for providing for the governance of this country.  


How about stepping outside of fragmented party politics and being for the USA this time, instead of playing TPublican games - again.  

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Cobbian Well, of course he would pull the nomination if they actually did hold hearings.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@xxxzzz @Cobbian Really? That's the best you have? So if President Obma did "pull the nomination", then wouldn't repubs get their wish?

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@RoadScholar @xxxzzz @Cobbian He would pull it if Hillary won (or appeared to be on the way) and re-nominate someone else more liberal.  This is all a political game with him, just like reversing course on Atlantic drilling.  He's just playing the game with a bunch of incompetents in the GOP leadership.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Wascatlady @xxxzzz @RoadScholar @Cobbian All of that is his pattern.  He's by far the most partisan president in my lifetime.  All the rest acted like the president of the whole country, not just those who agreed with them.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Let's hope the Cons block this middle-of-the-road guy so Hills can put in a young liberal and set the court up for the next 15+ years.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Finn-McCool I think Obama would be a great "young liberal."  The gift that keeps on giving.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Estrada? Erik Estrada from CHiPs? What a horrible show!

332-206
332-206

Kyle tells the hard truth.

Hopefully, the GOP can have a "Come to Reality " prayer meeting.

DekalbComments
DekalbComments

@Eye wonder @332-206  Really? God spoke to me this morning and she said she was cool with things. She was looking forward to putting a woman in the WH. She speaks to me every day. She is disgusted with the way men have screwed things up.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@332-206

God deserted the GOP a while ago. What we're seeing now is the punishment being handed down.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

"GOP lawmakers, though, have said since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last month that Obama should leave the choice of a new justice to his successor and that they have no intention of holding a hearing or a vote on the president’s pick.”


Isn't this the basis for the Senate Republican's position: it's not Obama's nomination to make.  They're not dumb, the Senate Republicans.  Let the next POTUS nominate the jurist.


It's a chess game.  Obama countered with a pretty good move.   Can we make the claim that the Senate Republicans forced Obama's hand into nominating a moderate?  A moderate judge?  Obama nominates a moderate judge?  That's hardly in his character.



Aquagirl
Aquagirl

Republicans shoot themselves in the foot again. It must be Wednesday.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Aquagirl Well McConnell showed his hand too publically and too early.  But we all knew McConnell was incompetent.

Caius
Caius

Agree with Kyle on this issue.


Now page forward to January 2, 2017 and a new Congress has been sworn in with the 51 Democrats now in control of the Senate.  President elect Trump will be sworn in January 20, 2017 at noon.

The previous Senate had refused to even have a committee meeting or even consider to bring the nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy to a vote. So the 51 Democratic majority changes the Senate rules and declares that only a simple majority is necessary to confirm SCOTUS nominees.

President Obama resubmits the name of Garland and the Senate in a floor vote advises and consents to the nomination of Judge Garland to the Supreme Court.

Farfetched?  Probably.  But not that far.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Caius

 51 Democratic majority changes the Senate rules

They'd only need fifty, actually. Biden would be the tie breaker.

And (yes, I've gamed out this scenario) if the Dems wanted to really play hardball during that period between 3 January and 21 January 2017, they could get Ginsberg and Bryer to quit, and appoint two more young Justices, and make it clear that any right wing legislation or Executive Order signed by Trump could expect to find an unfriendly hearing in the SCOTUS for the next four years.

Yeah, farfetched, but desperate times and whatnot...

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

@Caius It wouldn't be Garland again, it would be a minority and someone much more liberal.


Hells yeah!

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Its up to the Senators to screw over an honest man or debate his merits.   It may come out his wife posed nude or something.....

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

 Garland was valedictorian at Harvard, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law, clerked at the Supreme Court, worked as a federal prosecutor and has served for 19 years on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.


He has an impressive resume. He should be confirmed.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@Hedley_Lammar Totally disqualified.  ANOTHER Harvard judge?  Seriously, every single judge on the court attended Harvard or Yale.  We had 6 Catholics and 3 Jews.  4 from NYC.  7 who spent most of their career in the DC-Boston corridor.  Its not a very diverse court.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@xxxzzz @Hedley_Lammar Seriously, every single judge on the court attended Harvard or Yale. 


I agree diversity would be nice. But being valedictorian at Harvard should not be some sort of disqualifier either.

Stan_Dup
Stan_Dup

@Hedley_Lammar @xxxzzz  Poor xz just can't come up with another reason to oppose. What does he want, a judge who attended the Southwestern College of Law and Lawnmower Repair?

gama1mom3
gama1mom3

@xxxzzz @Hedley_Lammar Scalia attended Harvard Law School and he was from New Jersey. You are making a very poor argument if you want the next judge to be in his mold.