I did empathize a bit with the Democrats in the Gorsuch nomination when they lamented the fact that the former President’s choice for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, did not even get a hearing on his confirmation.
Now the record is clear: I called for a hearing. Here it is!
BUT, I would have hearings. Ask tough questions. Ask about great Scalia cases and dissents. Make it clear to the American people how wonderful the late justice was. And Judge Garland will have to either try to agree with Scalia or say no I am not a strict constructionist or a textual judicial conservative. Now senators need to be ready to confront Judge Garland on inconsistencies between Scalia’s judicial philosophy and his.
THEN and only THEN reject the judge because he will almost for sure show he is no Scalia. And then the senators ought to propose more appropriate names to the President. Ted Cruz would be a good start.
I do not expect WashPo or NYT to agree but it looks fair and it is fair: Give the judge a chance. But I am certain Judge Garland is no Scalia. He will fail the test. Then reject him. But the “no hearings, no vote” strategy is a loser with people. the voters want the Senate to be fair.
Judge Garland (who I just nominated for prosecutor of the Syrian war crimes trials that should be done rather than cruise missile strikes) would have done fine but he was no Scalia. And it could have been easily shown.
So why did the GOP controlled Senate say no to even a hearing? I know why. But it is no glory to the Republicans. For we would have Justice Garland by now.
The Republicans tend to “play by the rules” and one rule they would have done is to play along with the system – well the President did nominate Judge Garland and he is clearly qualified to he a Justice on the Supreme Court and blah, blah, blah. All the Dems needed would have been four defections. Then Biden votes yea and bam! – we have Justice Garland.
Two for sure: Collins of Maine and Kirk of Illinois
A maybe or two: Murkowski of Alaska and Ayotte of New Hampshire.
This is why the Dems are so upset about the failure to hold a hearing.
That is why the tea party and conservative groups were right to force the issue (of course I would have called for the hearing until the election but on the terms stated above: To paraphrase another senator: Judge Garland is no Scalia. It would have been easy to show the people.) and say NO HEARING.
Now it was a crap shoot – President Hillary Clinton (I can hardly write the words – thank the Lord it never came to pass!) would have nominated a more liberal choice and Garland was kicked to the curb.
Now we know. Lest there be no doubt. The Dems will use the nuclear option (it is and should be called the “constitutional” option instead) when they come back to power. We will need a real filibuster then to keep a ultra liberal off the Court.
Virginia voters remember this: BOTH Senators Warner and Kaine voted NO and would have “filibustered” Justice Gorsuch. We need a new senator in 2018. Senator Dave Brat anyone?