President Obama Selects Judge Merrick Garland To Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

President Obama has selected his nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, now the question is whether the Senate will act.

Merrick Garland Supreme Court Nomination

President Obama has nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court Of Appeals For The District of Columbia Circuit as his nominee to fill the vacancy created by the death last month of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia:

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday said he would nominate Merrick B. Garland as the nation’s 113th Supreme Court justice, choosing a centrist appeals court judge for the lifetime appointment and daring Republican senators to refuse consideration of a jurist who is highly regarded throughout Washington.

Mr. Obama introduced Judge Garland to an audience of his family members, activists, and White House staff in the Rose Garden Wednesday morning, describing him as exceptionally qualified to serve on the Supreme Court in the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.

The president said Judge Garland is “widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence. These qualities and his long commitment to public service have earned him the respect and admiration from leaders from both sides of the aisle.”

He added that Judge Garland “will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the Supreme Court, an institution on which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately.”

Mr. Obama said it is tempting to make the confirmation process “an extension of our divided politics.” But he warned that “to go down that path would be wrong.”

Mr. Obama demanded a fair hearing for Judge Garland and said that refusing to even consider his nomination would provoke “an endless cycle of more tit for tat” that would undermine the democratic process for years to come.

“I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing, and then an up-or-down vote,” Mr. Obama said. “If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.”

But shortly after the ceremony, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, took to the Senate floor to reiterate his position that the nomination process should be blocked.

“The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration,” Mr. McConnell said. “The next president may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”

In brief remarks in the Rose Garden, Judge Garland emotionally described his legal career as a prosecutor and a judge, saying that “fidelity to the Constitution and the law have been the cornerstone of my professional life.” He said that if the Senate confirmed him, he promised to “continue on that course.”

At the end of the Rose Garden ceremony — which took place during idyllic weather on an unusually warm mid-March day with the garden’s Tulip Magnolia trees covered in pink blossoms — much of the Senate’s Democratic leadership warmly greeted Lynn Garland, Judge Garland’s wife, and one of their daughters in something akin to a receiving line.

Ms. Garland was beaming throughout the greetings, hugging some of the most powerful people in the country. As the granddaughter of a presidential counsel, Ms. Garland is well known among this city’s elite.

In answer to a shouted question regarding her husband’s nomination, Ms. Garland shyly smiled but said nothing to reporters.

In choosing Judge Garland, a well-known moderate who has drawn bipartisan support over decades, Mr. Obama was essentially daring Republicans to press their election-year confirmation fight over a judge many of them have publicly praised and who would be difficult for them to reject, particularly if a Democrat were to win the November presidential election and they faced the prospect of a more liberal nominee in 2017.

Judge Garland persevered through a lengthy political battle in the mid-1990s that delayed his own confirmation to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by more than a year. Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, argued at the time that the vacancy should not be filled.

Twenty years later, Mr. Grassley and other Republicans are again standing in the way of Judge Garland’s appointment, arguing that the next president should be the one to pick the successor to Justice Scalia. Republicans in the Senate and on the presidential campaign trail vowed to stand firm against whomever Mr. Obama chose.

In remarks Monday, Mr. Obama chastised Republicans for taking that stand, demanding that the Republican-controlled Senate fulfill its responsibility to consider Judge Garland and hold a timely vote on his nomination. Do do anything else would be irresponsible, he said.

From his resume, Judge Garland would seem to be more than qualified for the position of Supreme Court Justice. A Chicago native who worked his way through Harvard University and Law School, Garland clerked for two Federal Judges, including the well-regarded late Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Henry Friendly and Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, before taking a job at one of Washington, D.C.’s most prestigious law firms where he rose up the ranks fairly quickly In the 1990s, though, Garland left private practice to work at the Justice Department where he was involved in a number of violent crime and drug cases, including the drug prosecution of former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and, most notably, serving as the lead prosecutor in the investigation and prosecution of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995. Shortly after that, he was nominated to a position on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and, after a rather long delay rooted not in any question about Garland’s qualifications but in the question of whether there needed to be a twelfth seat on the Court of Appeals, confirmed to that position in a Senate vote of  76-23 in 1997 in which he received the support of a majority of both the Democratic and Republican caucuses in the Senate. Since then, Garland’s reputation on the Court has been one for which he has garnered respect from across the legal profession, and, when he was among the names considered the last two times President Obama had the opportunity to name someone to the Supreme Court, Republicans indicated he was a candidate that could likely be easily confirmed.

As for Garland’s judicial philosophy, Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSBlog summarized the highlights of Garland’s rulings as a Court of Appeals Judge as of 2010 when he was on the President’s “short list” to fill the seat being vacated by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens. From that summary, which I recommend to anyone interested and which will hopefully be updated to cover Judge Garland’s rulings in the six years that have ensued since the Stevens retirement, the best way to describe Garland is as a moderate liberal Judge who, while he will likely pull the Court to the left simply given the fact that he is replacing Justice Scalia, is arguably more in the tradition of someone like Justice David Souter rather than, say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the sense that he is probably more likely to end up being more of a centrist on some issues than Ginsburg and may even end up allying with the Court’s conservative Justices on issues such as the powers of law enforcement and related issues, especially as those issues are related to the War On Terror. From Goldstein’s review, it doesn’t appear that Garland has been called upon to rule on some of the more controversial issues that have come before the Supreme Court in recent years such as the Second Amendment or abortion rights, although it’s not surprising that his record on the second issue would be limited given that such issues rarely make their way to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. As a general rule, though, there’s nothing in Garland’s record of rulings that stands out as controversial from either side of the political aisle.

Despite President Obama’s praise of Judge Garland, and despite the fact that Republicans have praised Judge Garland in the past, his nomination faces a tough time before the Senate. It was just Monday, after all, that Senate Republicans reiterated their refusal to consider any nomination from President Obama, and so far the reaction to Judge Garland has been in line with that position:

Senate Republicans are not budging in their refusal to consider President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court following the president officially naming Merrick Garland to the job.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted on Wednesday that the Republican choice not to consider Garland — the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — was nothing personal.

“The American people may well elect a President who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration. The next president may also nominate someone very different,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday. “Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said he fully supports that stand. “We should let the American people decide the direction of the court,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

In the immediate aftermath of Garland’s nomination on Wednesday morning, McConnell’s GOP troops were toeing the same line. Moderate Republican senators who are up for reelection in swing states this November said that the choice of Garland did not shift their thinking about not holding confirmation hearings for the judge.

“I continue to believe the Senate should not move forward with the confirmation process until the people have spoken by electing a new president,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said in a statement.

“After the election, I look forward to considering the nominee of our new president,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said in a statement. “Whether the American people elect a Republican or a Democrat, I will judge his or her nominee on the merits, as I always have.”

The hardline Republican stance has sparked a passionate outcry from Democrats, who have accused Republicans of shirking their constitutional duty to consider the president’s nominee. Democrats are expected to make the Supreme Court nomination an issue for individual Republican senators on the campaign trail. Administration officials hope that if vulnerable Republican senators face enough pressure, they may try to force leaders to reconsider their resistance.

Senate Democrats are counting an early political victory in the fact that there are about a half dozen Republicans who haven’t completely ruled out meeting with Garland and considering his nomination, according to various reports. That list includes Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ayotte and Portman.

“The ice is cracking. It’s going to crack further,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters.

Flake told reporters on Wednesday that he would meet with Garland because “I think that’s my responsibility,” adding that he “would certainly prefer a pick like Garland, rather than someone Hillary Clinton might put up” if she wins the election.

Democrats also stressed that Republicans should be happy with a moderate nominee like Garland – and some Senate Republicans suspect Obama selected him over someone younger or more liberal contenders to try to pressure Republicans to move his nomination.

“I think he was really trying to pick somebody that he thought at least some Senate Republicans would accept right now,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a member of the Judiciary Committee, who was one of the few Republicans in Congress to vote for Garland when he was nominated to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

But the current environment is too “toxic” and “politicized,” Hatch said, to consider confirming any Supreme Court nominee before the next administration.

“It isn’t the person – Judge Garland’s a good man,” Hatch said, adding that he has “respect” for Garland and “fought for him” back in 1997. “But this is different.”

It’s arguably the case that the President has selected Judge Garland as part of an effort to back the GOP into a corner on its “No Hearings, No Votes” position and put the maximum amount of political pressure on them. In addition to the fact that several sitting Senators have said in the past that Garland would be a good Supreme Court nominee, the Administration can point to the fact that the Senate has previously considered Garland for a judicial position and that he was overwhelmingly approved by a Republican-controlled Senate. Indeed, one can make the case that if it were not for the fiscal issues that surrounded his appointment that had nothing to do with his qualifications he probably would have been confirmed unanimously. As Philip Bump notes, though, the Senate that approved Garland back in 1997 is very different from the one that exists today and there are only seven Senators left who voted on Garland’s confirmation nineteen years ago, so that’s hardly a good argument for why the Senate should consider him this time. Additionally, as I’ve noted in the past, the pressure from Republicans for the Senate to adhere to the “No Hearings, No Votes” is quite high and likely to remain that way. Given all of that, at least in the short term, one expects that while some Senators will meet with Garland there will likely be no action taken on his nomination. The only thing that may change that is if Republicans determine that what’s likely to come from the next President in terms of a replacement nominee could be worse from a Republican point of view. In that case, you just might see Garland confirmed during the lame duck session of Congress after the election, but even that seems unlikely at this point.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Congress, Law and the Courts, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Continuing the Ivy monoculture.




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  2. Mu says:

    Garland is a “hell no” candidate for any second amendment advocate, he tried to get DC vs Heller an en banc rehearing when the DC Circuit ruled against DC.




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  3. stonetools says:

    Politico:

    People close to the White House’s discussions say Obama made the political calculation that Garland was the one potential nominee with so many professional and personal qualifications — and so few potential knocks against him — that any opposition to him will be clearly seen as pure obstructionist Republican politics.
    He may not have what people believed to have been Obama’s perfect choice. But he’s who the president and his aides have determined is their best shot — Mr. Right Now, if not the dreamy Mr. Right (or in this case, Mr. Left).
    Obama pressed that point on Wednesday, calling Garland “uniquely prepared to serve immediately.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/obama-safe-supreme-court-pick-merrick-garland-220878#ixzz436E9ZrjN
    Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

    As far as I’m concerned, this nomination is purely about making the Republicans pay the maximum political price in an election year for their obstructionism. It has nothing to do with whether Garland is the liberal wet dream choice (he’s not) or his qualifications (the Republicans more or less concede he is well qualified). Obama heretofore has not been good at exacting a political price for Republican obstructionism, but at least in the early years that was because he kept waiting for them to “see reason” . Now , he is in DGAF mode and doesn’t really have anything pressing on his plate before the elections apart from this. He can focus all his campaigning and speeches on this. Hopefully, he can do better this time.




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  4. Hal_10000 says:

    So another Harvard-Yale axis judge who will defer to the government on civil liberties and the War on Terror. Great, just what we needed.

    In case anyone was wondering if Obama took this whole criminal justice reform thing seriously, you have your answer.




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  5. C. Clavin says:

    So…a what-if to ponder:
    What if Trump takes a bunch of Senate seats with him as he spirals down the toilet drain in the general?
    If you are a current Senator wouldn’t you be better off getting a moderate like Garland, than someone currently unknown that gets nominated by Clinton and confirmed by a Democratic Senate?




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  6. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Obama was elected President, not God Emperor. He’s made a pick that he thinks he can get through a Republican Senate, who are just fine with the present screwed up criminal justice system and the ongoing War on Terror. And in case you missed it, they still refuse to even hold hearings on this quite centrist candidate.
    Stop blaming the President and blame the frickin’ Republican Senate, if you want more liberal Supreme Court nominees.




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  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    While I have huge respect for Merrick, I still think he’s being put into the position of being a decoy duck for a political purpose. I’d be surprised if anybody at the White House actually expects him to be confirmed.




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  8. stonetools says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Mc Connell and the Republicans are doing the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass, here. If things develop as you say, Hillary will nominate who the hell she wants, with zero restrictions. I can see the following dialogue happen come November 9:

    McConnell: Mr. President? We’re ready to move on that Supreme Court nomination now.

    Obama: I’m sorry. I talked it over with my fellow Democrats, and we agree that you are right -the next President and the next Senate should select the next Supreme Court nomination. I’m told she’s considering such worthy candidates as Pam Karlan and Loretta Lynch. Anyway, it’s in her hands now. I hope you are glad your point of view prevailed.




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  9. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools: I suspect McConnell is just fine with a liberal Justice as long as it happens in such a way that his constituents and his sponsors don’t see it as his fault. He’ll be OK if they see him as fighting the good fight. He can feign being just as surprised at Hillary’s election and a loss of seats as Romney was by Obama in ’12.




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  10. Hal_10000 says:

    @stonetools:

    It’s not a matter of liberal or conservative. It’s a matter of respecting civil liberties, which few of the justices on the Court do, liberal or conservative. Scalia was one of the most conservative justices but one of the stronger on the 4th and 6th amendments. If civil liberties were a priority with Obama, he would have nominated one this time or the last two times. He’s now had three nominees, all three of whom defer to law enforcement and executive power.




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  11. MikeSJ says:

    I wonder what will happen if we have a President Hillary and a republican senate that refuses to approve or even hold hearings on any of her nominations?

    Right now we have 8 Justices. Can we keep losing them, say to the point we have a 4 or 5 member court?

    Unfortunately I don’t think this is a purely academic question anymore.




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  12. stonetools says:

    I suspect what Obama wants out of this process is to :

    1. Totally discredit the Republican Party in the eyes of the few true independents (62 per cent of independents favor the Senate holding hearings)
    2. Demonstrate once again , for the 1500th time, that the Republicans are totally obstructionist and incapable of rational compromise.

    When you have lost Ron Fournier , the reigning high priest of “why can’t Obama lead by compromising with Republicans”, you’ve lost everyone rational.
    If Trump wasn’t sufficient reason to awing the independents behind Clinton in 2016, the Republican opposition to Garland seals the deal, and gives the independents a good, solid reason to vote Democratic down ticket.
    I also expect a lot of nasty personal attacks on Garland, too, because that’s how Republicans roll ( “Might he be gay? Are we sure his daughter wasn’t at a drunk tank, rather than hiking?”) That sort of stuff.




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  13. Tyrell says:

    The Senate can stall, hold out, block, or delay, but if Hillary gets elected they will have the choice of Judge Judy, or Oprah.




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  14. stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Dude, you are going to have to give me more than conclusory statements that Kagan or Sotomayor are anti-civil liberties. I have certainly not heard that. I know that certain “true liberals” objected to the nominations of both on those grounds. Since they have been seated on the Court, they have been reliably liberal and pro civil liberties, as far as I know.
    I note too, that you have skipped over the fact that the Republicans would almost certainly oppose more pro civil liberties candidates.




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  15. @C. Clavin:

    Yes but how would they answer to their rabid base for their about turn? That’s what you get for playing with fire. Things are just now coming home to roost.

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Agree in part. He may also have been told that they were going to nominate him now (as he’s one of the older potential candidates) knowing that he has an uproad climb. If I were an appeals court justice, even having the chance of being confirmed is better than waiting for an uncertain future appointment.




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  16. stonetools says:

    @Millennial Lifehacker:

    Although we don’t know for sure, I suspect that Obama promised Garland that he would do his best to get him confirmed, even after the November election. Despite my speculation above, I believe its likely Obama will continue pushing for his nomination during the lame duck period or even in January when the new Senate is seated. This would seem to be the right thing to do. In the end, though, who knows? Maybe Garland is ok with being just the decoy duck. Sounds more like a liberal fantasy, than how the real world works, though.




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  17. MarkedMan says:

    If “The Republicans” had a strategy, then Garland would be in. But there is no such animal as “The Republicans”, only individual senators. And their individual strategies are all about how to protect their own seat. And I believe they are absolutely correct that if they act in such a way that a future tea party rival or trump-et candidate can say “They colluded with that illegitimate Kenyan ursurper”, they will loose in the primary. And while they may have some opinion on whether it would be better to take a moderate from Obama over a liberal from Clinton, there are no Republicans left that would put that over any chance at all that they might lose their seat.




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  18. stonetools says:

    Nina Totenberg weighs in with some double top secret rumor mongering:

    Senate Republicans signaled to President Obama that if he nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, they would consider confirming him during the lame duck session if a Democrat is elected to the White House in November, NPR’s Nina Totenberg reported on Wednesday.

    I see a level of a lot of wiggle room in that, even if the rumors are true.
    Predictwise, meanwhile, puts the odds of hearing on a nominee at 55 per cent. Make of what what you will.




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  19. Blue Galangal says:

    @stonetools: Word on the street (i.e., Balloon Juice) is that Garland was shortlisted before, and someone dug up a NYT link that PBO was keeping Garland for when he would have a more difficult confirmation fight on his hands. Also too, apparently Garland is well connected in DC circles and Roberts likes him.




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  20. An Interested Party says:

    Senate Republicans signaled to President Obama that if he nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, they would consider confirming him during the lame duck session if a Democrat is elected to the White House in November…

    If the Democrats take back the Senate, then this deal stinks and should be flushed…Republicans say they want the next president to decide…under the above circumstances they should be given their wish…




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  21. stonetools says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Yeah, after reading a few blogs like Balloon Juice and LGM, I feel that Obama needs to put a clock on this offer. Maybe it terminates on July 1, after the Republican convention.If the Republicans want the benefit of getting a moderate on the Supreme Court, rather than a full throated liberal, then they have to give up something. It would cost them nothing at all to vote for Garland after they lose the Senate and the Presidency in November.
    That said, there is a considerable body of opinion out there that says that the Republicans are never, ever going to vote to put any non-conservative on the Supreme Court, and Obama should have just gone ahead and nominated a liberal. Going forward, they say that no one will be seated unless Clinton wins the Presidency and the Democrats win the Senate.




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  22. An Interested Party says:

    …the Republicans are never, ever going to vote to put any non-conservative on the Supreme Court…

    Here’s the perfect example of how screwed we are as a country…offered a choice, Republicans run around stomping their feet like 2-year-olds rather than fulfilling their constitutional duties…if His Orangeness causes the Republican Party to fall apart then that will be a good thing for the country as a whole and he will actually have done something good for a change…




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  23. Hal_10000 says:

    @stonetools:

    Since they have been seated on the Court, they have been reliably liberal and pro civil liberties, as far as I know.

    Their record is mixed, at best. Kagan and Sotomayor were with the majority on the drug dog sniffing case. Kagan and Sotomayor were split on Kaley, with Kagan writing some truly silly things about grand juries. Sotomayor dissented in Heien. Even when they’ve been on the right side, their arguments have not been very strong. The biggest problem with the Court right now is the complete absence of anyone who has done criminal defense and therefore knows how our criminal justice works in practice vs. how it works in theory. Every single judge is either from white shoe law firms, a career on the bench, academia or prosecution. It shows in the arguments.




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  24. Gromitt Gunn says:

    ~ Bang, bang, bang went the gavel,
    Aye, aye, aye said the Dems,
    Nay, nay, nay from the Red team,
    Or they would have, had the hearings been held. ~

    Wait, what? Oh, not *that* Garland…

    Never mind then.




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  25. al-Ameda says:

    “The American people may well elect a president who decides to nominate Judge Garland for Senate consideration,” Mr. McConnell said. “The next president may also nominate someone very different. Either way, our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy.”

    “Give the people a voice ..”? Presumably he wasn’t laughing when he said that.

    It is remarkable that Republicans have refused to accept the legitimacy of the 4 elections that resulted in Bill Clinton’s 2 terms and Barack Obama’s 2 terms.




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  26. Ravi says:

    @Hal_10000

    Exactly. That’s why I really wanted to see Obama nominate Jane Kelly (a former public defender!), especially since she came with the tactical bonus of making Grassley oppose a fellow Iowan.

    And while the smear campaign about her clients has already started, that’s an argument we need to have. Either we need to accept that our system of justice requires good people to represent bad clients or we need to admit that it is time to repeal the Sixth Amendment. Pretending that we believe in fair trials while making them less likely in practice by demonizing defense work is just hypocritical nonsense.




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  27. PJ says:

    @al-Ameda:

    It is remarkable that Republicans have refused to accept the legitimacy of the 4 elections that resulted in Bill Clinton’s 2 terms and Barack Obama’s 2 terms.

    On the legitimacy of elections, it’s been 28 years since the last time a non-incumbent GOP nominee was able to win the Presidency without having the Supreme Court decide the outcome…
    While that was a more direct approach, the current GOP needs a conservative court for future wins too, by further dismantling the Voting Rights Act or approving VoterID laws.




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  28. Catchling says:

    Mitch MicConnell: “It seems clear that President Obama made this nomination not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election.”

    I tried to let that sink in, but my palm was blocking the way to my forehead.

    By contrast, blaming the 2013 shutdown on the Democrats was more sensible than this. There was something the Democrats could have done to prevent that — knuckle under to Republican demands.

    This time, Republicans have already said there are no conditions under which they would accept a nominee. How can they possibly act like Obama is the one not taking things seriously?




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  29. Moosebreath says:

    @al-Ameda:

    “It is remarkable that Republicans have refused to accept the legitimacy of the 4 elections that resulted in Bill Clinton’s 2 terms and Barack Obama’s 2 terms.”

    Or the legitimacy of the Congress elected in 2008.




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  30. An Interested Party says:

    How can they possibly act like Obama is the one not taking things seriously?

    What’s worse than even this–if Hillary becomes president and the Democrats take back the Senate, Republicans, McConnell chief among them, will be whining about how they’ll be left out of the process of picking Scalia’s replacement, the poor victims…




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  31. Jack says:

    People forget how one of the Court’s present arch-liberals, Stephen Breyer, was similarly sold to the public as a moderate by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1994-05-14/news/mn-57615_1_supreme-court




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  32. KM says:

    @Jack:

    And he could jump conservative after being sold as a moderate as well. Is that a problem for you – being deceived by a moderate drifting to partisan needs like that? If he decides to be more pro-2nd Amendment then Scalia, will you be wailing about how we were tricked that he was sold as a moderate?

    Honestly – it’s getting really sad. Merrick is probably as middle of the road as you’re going to get considering. Take the splinter and avoid the gut wound – basic common sense.




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  33. Jack says:

    @KM: I’m sure Obama and his team have vetted this person well. Based upon what I have read, he is no moderate.

    He’d end gun rights as we know them, and that’s all the left and Obama wants—Australia like confiscation.




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  34. Moosebreath says:

    @Jack:

    “People forget how one of the Court’s present arch-liberals, Stephen Breyer, was similarly sold to the public as a moderate by then-President Bill Clinton in 1994.”

    Which is a commentary on how far to the right the Supreme Court has moved in the last 2 decades.




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  35. Jack says:

    @Moosebreath: I believe Obama was right, when he said:

    “There are some who believe that the president, having won the election, should have complete authority to appoint his nominee and the Senate should only examine whether or not the justice is intellectually capable, and an all-around good guy. That once you get beyond intellect, and personal character, there should be no further question as to whether the judge should be confirmed.

    I disagree with this view. I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise AND consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record.”

    He’s been dead wrong on everything since.




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  36. Moosebreath says:

    @Jack:

    And your comment relates to what I wrote because…?




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  37. Jack says:

    @Moosebreath: You and I both know, anyone who is presented by the left as a moderate, as Ruth Bader Ginsberg was back in 1993, ends up becoming a solid member of a liberal majority.




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  38. An Interested Party says:

    I’m sure Obama and his team have vetted this person well. Based upon what I have read, he is no moderate.

    Do you really expect any Democratic president to nominate a conservative? Republicans would be wise to approve Garland now, lest Hillary nominates a real liberal next year…




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  39. Moosebreath says:

    @Jack:

    “You and I both know, anyone who is presented by the left as a moderate, as Ruth Bader Ginsberg was back in 1993, ends up becoming a solid member of a liberal majority.”

    Which again shows how far to the right the Supreme Court has become, where Rockefeller Republicans like John Paul Stevens and David Souter are considered far to the left.

    And I might add that Notorious RBG was suggested to the Clinton administration for the Supreme Court by that noted leftist, Orrin Hatch.




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  40. gVOR08 says:

    @Jack: Or Earl Warren, of IMPEACH EARL WARREN fame. Oh wait, he was a conservative nominated by Eisenhower. Funny what happens when you give people lifetime job security and they no longer have to suck up to their party bosses.




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  41. David M says:

    This pick perfectly sums Obama’s Presidency. Obama makes a moderate consensus action, acknowledging the GOP controls the Senate, much to the disappointment of liberals. GOP reacts to black man “Presidenting while a Democrat” by trashing the constitution and threatening to destroy our system of government.




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  42. Tyrell says:

    @gVOR08: I still see some “Impeach Earl Warren” stickers on a few vehicles – usually 50 year old pick up trucks (with rifles in the back window). Warren comes up time to time on local radio talk programs and somes church services. Memories are long here, or this place is stuck in some sort of time warp.




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  43. DrDaveT says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Have to agree with both of your posts above. Merrick is a disappointing choice from a civil liberties point of view — unless it’s a very devious plot to simultaneously make it unambiguous who is sabotaging the government AND take a law-and-order prosecutor-friendly judge off the candidate list.

    I don’t think Obama is quite that devious. He may be ‘centrist’ by current standards, but not in the dimensions that are most likely to provoke riots in the streets in the next decade.




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  44. Lenoxus says:

    @Jack attempted to “gotcha” Obama with this quote: “I believe firmly that the Constitution calls for the Senate to advise AND consent. I believe that it calls for meaningful advice and consent that includes an examination of a judge’s philosophy, ideology, and record.”

    … ?

    That’s a perfect description of what McConnell has already promised not to do. The Republicans are planning to block anyone no matter what. “Advise? Consent? Like hell we will!” Arguably that’s unconstitutional; at the very least it’s against the spirit of the constitution.

    The weird part is how explicit they are about it. They could have just told Obama they don’t want a radical socialist America-hater. Then for each nominee, go through the motions of determining that he or she is, on closer examination, a radical socialist America-hater.

    Apparently, they’re worried that if they vote against a nominee on any grounds but “Obaaamaaaa!”, their consituents will lose all respect for them, and consider their motives ideological and hence bad, rather than personal and hence good.




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  45. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Ravi: While I see your point, I must note that we are talking about America–and therefore American politicians and the American public. When was the last time that Americans truly believed in a fresh start for people who had been incarcerated? Certainly not in my lifetime. Belief in fair trials is simply another part of the same myth.




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  46. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jack: No, we actually want arrest warrants and summary executions for all citizens to the right of, say, David Brooks. We’ve tricked you into accepting the Donald, so our plan is almost complete no matter which candidate wins in November. Bwahahahahahahaha!




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  47. Thomas Weaver says:

    Knowing what Mitch McConnell said last week, you have to wonder why Barry made this nomination?

    Is this guy the lamb to be slaughtered over the comments made by the WH & the Republicans….So, he’s not the “REAL nominee”. Just another bump in the road so that Barry can stand in front of the teleprompters once more…before and after he hits the golf links.




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  48. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    He’d end gun rights as we know them, and that’s all the left and Obama wants—Australia like confiscation.

    LOL!




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  49. al-Ameda says:

    @Thomas Weaver:

    Just another bump in the road so that Barry can stand in front of the teleprompters once more…before and after he hits the golf links.

    Conservatives are surprised that teleprompter technology exists, why is that?
    You do realize that teleprompters have been used by every modern president, right?
    You need to get out more.




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  50. Catchling says:

    al-Ameda:

    You do realize that teleprompters have been used by every modern president, right?

    Which is exactly what’s wrong with this country! Conservatives have come to realize that all politicians ought to ramble like Trump. Stream-of-consciousness ranting = “telling it like it is”.




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  51. Tyrell says:

    @Catchling: People are tired of all the politically correct ramifications of every word.
    Any sort of disagreeing, digressing, or debate is being stifled: in universities, corporations, retail, government, and entertainment.




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  52. DrDaveT says:

    @Tyrell:

    People are tired of all the politically correct ramifications of every word.

    Trump supporters (and others) are tired of being told that their bigotry is illegitimate. This is understandable… and yet their bigotry really is illegitimate.

    Hint: it is not “political correctness” to believe that slavery was a really bad thing.

    Any sort of disagreeing, digressing, or debate is being stifled

    This is simply not true — but it is a much more comforting belief than “I believe hateful things”, and so it gets a lot of traction.




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