With Merrick Garland, Barack Obama made the safe, conventional, even boring choice for the Supreme Court. He’s trying to call the Republicans’ bluff and force their hand by nominating a centrist judge who has been praised extensively by the right.As much as I hate to say anything positive about obama, he's showing some pretty strong political chops with this move. He's pinned the republicans on the horns of a dilemma. They have two choices - and they lose either way. If they refuse to hold confirmation hearings on Garland, they appear to be the obstructionists that the left and the media (but I repeat myself) paint them as. On the other hand, if they hold the hearings, then they once again look weak, confused, and unable or unwilling to keep their word.
Making matters worse for the GOP, Garland is someone that might be marginally acceptable. He's a centrist who sometimes leans to the left. He's also 63 years old, which mean he would have a relatively short tenure on the bench - especially compared to someone in their forties. Furthermore:
SCOTUS beat reporter Robert Barnes says it is probably accurate to describe Garland as “the most conservative Supreme Court nominee by a Democratic president in decades."Of course, that's like saying someone is just a little bit pregnant. (More on Garland here.)
As for the notion that the next president deserves to pick the Supreme Court nominee, well, that's also bad news for the republicans.
It's not a done deal, but it seems increasingly likely that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. The first-time candidate is more likely than not to lose the general election. He could take the GOP Senate majority down with him. It’s hard to imagine Republican incumbents surviving in Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania with The Donald at the top of the ticket, and it’s harder still to imagine GOP candidates winning in Florida and Nevada with the Trump headwinds. Trump as the nominee makes it much more likely that the Senate map expands in Democrats’ favor: Missouri’s Roy Blunt, North Carolina’s Richard Burr and even Arizona’s John McCain could each lose their seat because of Trump. Republican turnout could be depressed, as Hillary Clinton benefits from a yawning gender gap and record Latino turnout.So in 2017 it's quite likely that President Hillary (God, it hurt to type those two words) will present a relatively young, undoubtedly hard-core liberal Supreme Court nominee to a democrat-controlled senate.
My worst dreams come true.
The republicans best move appears to be to wait until the results of the November election are in, then call a lame-duck session of congress. At that point they would confirm Garland, depriving hillary of the opportunity to screw us for generations to come.
What worries the smartest people on the left is that McConnell will shepherd Garland’s confirmation through during the lame-duck session if Clinton wins, depriving the first woman president of her ability to pick a more progressive alternative. While Garland is 63, which means he has a relatively shorter shelf life on the bench, Hillary could pick someone who is still in her 40s.Hell, Lindsey, you've already had it both ways. By ignoring the voice of the people in the 2012 and 2014 elections, you've created the Trump monster that is currently devouring your party. Saying now that you should "honor their choice" is hypocrisy of the highest level.
Republican senators split yesterday on whether they’d vote for Garland during a lame-duck session if Clinton wins. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he would. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), who are both on the Judiciary Committee, said on the record that it would be inappropriate and disingenuous. “We can't have it both ways,” Graham said. "We cannot say 'let the people speak,' and then say 'no, you can't.' If you are going to let the people speak, let 'em speak and honor their choice.”
Graham and his cohorts certainly deserve to be blamed for the mess we're in. But there's another group who also deserves their share of the blame. That's everyone on the right who sat out the 2012 presidential election. Mitt Romney wasn't my ideal candidate, but he would have been a damn sight better than the SCOAMF currently wasting oxygen in the Oval Office.
Take a look at the tag line at the top of this blog. It's a quote from that great philosopher Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Or to put it another way, "in a democracy people get the leaders they deserve."
Well, we're about to get what we deserve - good and hard...