Thursday, March 17, 2016

What is gained by Obama going ahead to make Supreme Court appointment?

President Barack Obama on Wednesday rubbed it in the face of the Republican opposition that has spent the past seven years trying to undermine him. He's also hoping his actions play well politically to the point that his Democratic allies wind up benefitting.

GARLAND: He can have Supreme Court dreams
About the one thing that isn’t at stake is the chance that Merrick Garland – currently the chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia – will become a Supreme Court justice any time soon.

ON THE DAY after Election Day in his home state of Illinois and four other places – ones in which Hillary Clinton did well and Democratic Party renegade Bernie Sanders saw his chances slip (although he insists he’s not even dreaming of leaving the race) – Obama made it known he has made a pick to fill the vacancy caused by the death last month of Antonin Scalia.

Although there was some speculation that Obama could name the first Indian-American to serve on the high court and also at one point considered a justice from the appeals court for San Francisco (considered the most liberal in the nation), in the end Obama picked Garland.

Considering the Obama presidency previously gave us two women (one of Puerto Rican ethnic origins) as its Supreme Court picks, it would seem that the choice of Garland was meant to be safe.

Except that when it comes to this issue, nothing is “safe.”

OBAMA: Calling GOP's bluff
FOR THE REPUBLICAN majority that controls the U.S. Senate that will have to confirm any choice the president makes has already made it known it does not want Obama to have the pick.

They are content to let the court operate one short for just over the next year so that the next president (whom they fantasize will be a Republican) makes the pick.

It’s not just that they don’t want Obama to have this one pick – they don’t want him going into the history books as having been the guy who got to pick one-third of the Supreme Court of the United States.

They don’t want him doing what their alleged idol, Ronald Reagan, did, which was to stack the Supreme Court and other federal courts with judges who had an ideological sense of what the law was all about. Those picks have lived on much longer than he did.

REAGAN: Not ready for Ronnie's legacy to die
IT MUST BE a real smack in the face if Obama (the man they ideologically and racially detest) gets to be the guy who undoes what Reagan did.

Which is the part that gets to me. Some Republican types openly admit their desire is to keep the Supreme Court from going “liberal.” Either because that’s just their leaning, or because they really think it was ordained by God himself that the nation’s high court be biased in their favor.

My sense is that the choice of Garland is meant to provide the Republican leadership with a white male lacking in liberal leanings (albeit one who’s Jewish) for whom the easy thing to do would be for the GOP to accept his appointment.

This way, if they do wind up turning him down – or better yet, not even consider him – it can all be blamed on political partisanship.

THERE ALREADY HAS been political trash talk advising Democrats of the need to vote because we don’t want Donald Trump or Ted Cruz making a Supreme Court appointment. That rhetoric will be stepped up so high, and will be used by every Democrat seeking political office.

CLINTON: Will Hillary make the REAL pick?
While some people will probably vote Republican just because of that, Obama is gambling that the voice of real people in this country will be so outraged that he ultimately wins.

And that a future “President Hillary Clinton” will wind up getting to make the appointment of the real replacement for Scalia.

Although it’s kind of a shame that Garland is not likely to gain the position – although Harvard-educated, he is Chicago-born and raised in suburban Lincolnwood; the perfect end to the legacy of the first Chicago resident of significance to rise to the ranks of U.S. president.


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