I had noted when Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval’s name was being floated as a possible replacement Supreme Court Justice for the late, great Antonin Scalia, that President Obama nominating a “moderate” was essentially telling the Democrat base he thought their nominee would lose in November and that this was the best they could hope for because a Republican nominee would be much worse.
Sandoval took his name out of consideration about the same time my piece went up. [That’s called timing, folks!] This morning, the President nominated Merrick Garland of DC Circuit Court. Garland is being described as a moderate. So, does my assessment still stand?
Yes for all the reasons I noted before.
But now, let’s spin it forward: It’s November 8, 2016. Hillary Clinton has just defeated Donald Trump. She is the President-elect. Come January 2017, Clinton will have the Elections Matter Mantle and can nominate someone even more “progressive” than Justices Kagan and Sotomayor.
At that point, what’s to stop Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell from scheduling a snap vote on Garland? He would be, after all, the best they can expect? Indeed when Garland was nominated to the D.C. Circuit, then Judiciary Chairman Orin Hatch noted Garland was the best Republicans could hope for as a Bill Clinton nominee.
Until then, they need not do anything.