When I heard about the death of Antonin Scalia, I knew things would not be pretty with whomever Obama nominated. After all, Conservatives still shudder remembering their “Getting Borked” in 1987, so why not repay the favor? Unlike many, I found some things favorable about Scalia, including his friendship with justices from “across the aisle,” including Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I knew that Obama’s nominee would need a similar quality of appealing to both liberals and conservatives.
When brainstorming who I thought the nominee would be, I first looked for who was the head of the DC Court of Appeals. It was then that I came across (for the first time) the name Merrick Garland. Upon researching him I saw that this was the right man to replace Scalia, someone moderate in nature who could appeal to those on both sides of the aisle. It was a brilliant move on Obama’s part to choose someone with more conservative views (among his decisions were an en banc review of the revocation of the DC handgun ban, refusal to allow federal courts to apply habeus corpus to Gitmo prisoners, opposing voting rights for DC residents and often rejecting the appeal of criminals). I see Garland as someone with strong appeal to Conservatives who was nominated by a Liberal.
The fact that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is telling Republicans not to even meet with Garland and not to consider him even after election is petty and shameful. The fact that politicians are so bent on getting revenge on Obama or bearing a grudge from the 1980s is such childish action. When are we going to grow up and judge someone on the merits of his position rather than on who nominated him?
The Republican party’s leadership had better wake up and play nice in the sandbox. Instead of taking these low blows they should say “We will consider Garland on the basis of his qualifications.” I believe if they do so they will find that they maintain the balance of power in the Supreme Court. If they do not do so then this, combined with their party’s leadership squabbles with Donald Trump, will lead to a bleak future for them.