Hillary Clinton

Why Hillary Clinton Refuses to Say Whether Merrick Garland Will Be Her SCOTUS Pick

The Democratic hopeful stays silent on renominating Obama's stalled candidate.

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White House / Flickr.com

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has had lots of things to say about the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. "I have a bunch of litmus tests" for potential SCOTUS picks, Clinton has said. Foremost among those tests is the willingness of her judicial nominees to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 defense of free speech in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

But there is one major future-of-SCOTUS issue on which Clinton has been conspicuously silent. As Bloomberg's Greg Stohr puts it, "there's still a big question she hasn't answered: Would she re-nominate Merrick Garland to the open seat on the Supreme Court?"

Merrick Garland, who most recently served as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was of course nominated by President Barack Obama back in March to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But Garland's nomination has languished in the Senate ever since, with Republican lawmakers refusing to hold hearings or bring his name to a vote. And Clinton, Stohr observes, "has studiously avoided saying whether she would renominate Garland for the vacancy if it is still pending next year."

Why the silence? One possible explanation is that Garland is not at all the sort of liberal jurist that many of Clinton's supporters would like to see replace Scalia. Remember that the news of Garland's nomination did not exactly set progressive hearts aflutter. The president of the National Organization for Women questioned Garland's commitment to abortion rights, for example, while left-wing pundits complained that it was "extremely disappointing" to see the nomination of more "white men."

Garland's nomination surely came as a disappointment to that segment of the Democratic big tent that still cares about civil liberties. That's because Garland's record, as I've previously described it, "reflects a version of legal liberalism that tends to line up in favor of broad judicial deference to law enforcement and wartime executive power." In other words, Garland is not quite the dream candidate of the ACLU; nor is he the dream candidate of the Black Lives Matter movement.

So it's not really that much of a surprise to find Hillary Clinton keeping quiet on whether or not she'll re-up Merrick Garland's nomination if she wins the election. Clinton probably sees no upside in reoffending the various constituencies that found Garland to be such a disappointing judicial pick in the first place.

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  1. left-wing pundits complained that it was “extremely disappointing” to see the nomination of more “white men.”

    Then nominate Janice Rogers Brown.

  2. Foremost among those tests is the willingness of her judicial nominees to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 defense of free speech in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

    It *is* sort of funny that the decision she thinks needs overturning the most was “allowing people to be critical of *her*”

    Her ‘litmus tests’ are actually just a “list of people” she thinks deserve extra-legal special-treatment: herself (citzens’ united), blacks (VRA), women (Roe), LGBT . etc..

    and (shocking coincidence!) they all happen to be the groups which the DNC rely on for power. Its basically a promise that her presidency is going to be one non-stop patronage mill for special interest groups. And this whole ‘rule of law’ thing is going to be in shreds when she’s done.

    1. Plus pissing on people she doesn’t like, such as gun owners (Heller).

  3. Foremost among those tests is the willingness of her judicial nominees to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 defense of free speech in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

    Something made all the more amusing by the frenetic fundraising by Hillary’s campaign and surrogates.

    1. I live in my own bubble, but didn’t Dems have a fundraising advantage with the rules prior to Citizens United, and CU resulted in the fundraising field being level? Too lazy to google that for myself now. Surely the commentariat has the answer at the tips of the collective fingertips

      1. The dems may be loathe to admit it, but Citizens United is their friend, as it enables SEIU and billionaires like Bloomberg and Soros to give them tons of cash.

      2. Pretty much. The Dems get tens or hundreds of millions of “in-kind” contributions from the unions every election, which are essentially unregulated.

  4. “So it’s not really that much of a surprise to find Hillary Clinton keeping quiet on whether or not she’ll re-up Merrick Garland’s nomination if she wins the election. Clinton probably sees no upside in reoffending the various constituencies that found Garland to be such a disappointing judicial pick in the first place.”

    If there’s no upside couldn’t she just say that she won’t though?

    1. downside of saying that would come if Garland got confirmed prior to her ascension to the throne.
      Lame Duck congress may find Garland more appealing than a Clinton pick TBD.

  5. while left-wing pundits complained that it was “extremely disappointing” to see the nomination of more “white men.”

    As we all know, the most important thing about any person is the color of their skin, which tells you everything you need to know about them.

    1. It at least tells you that they have experience living as a person with that color skin.

      1. So much for the content of their character…

        1. Stop quoting white supremacists Republicans.

        2. That statement would literally be classified as hate speech today. What a fucked up world.

      2. Yes, Ensign Obvious. Which is still nowhere near as important as, for instance, the quality of their ideas.

        1. Jurisprudence, HA! I need demographics! It matters not if there are bits of lemon peel floating down the Potomac that are brighter and more dedicated to upholding the Constitution – get me a JURIST OF COLOR, STAT!

          (and not that icky Janice Rogers Brown either!)

      3. Vitiligio?

      4. “He is black on the right side. I am black on the left.”

      5. It at least tells you that they have experience living as a person with that color skin.

        Which means exactly nothing. Your stupidity always astounding, you’d think I’d be used to it by now. But you are a marvel.

        1. Everybody has experience living as a person with their skin color. It doesn’t distinguish one candidate from another.

          Unless, of course, you want to take the racist road that some skin colors are more valuable than others.

  6. She shouldn’t even waste time thinking about stuff like this since she isn’t going to be elected.

  7. Hillary Clinton is on record as saying the 2008 Heller Supreme Court case was wrongly decided. Note that the Heller ruling struck down DC’s ban on keeping any gun loaded for self-defense in your own home. And the four liberals on the court voted to uphold that effective ban on self-defense. Why does Hillary Clinton want to ban the use of guns for self-defense in the home?

    The lower federal courts have been generally hostile to the Second Amendment. They have already rubberstamped as permissible:
    * New York City’s $340 permit fee and one year process to get a permit to keep a handgun in your own home.
    * Discriminatory gun carry permitting in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California and Hawaii, where only those who are wealthy and connected are allowed to carry a gun outside the home for self-defense.
    * A “safe storage” law in San Francisco that requires homeowners to keep guns on their person or locked up when they are sleeping or in the shower, directly contradicting the Heller ruling.
    * A complete ban on any gun possession by anyone who has a doctor’s prescription for medical marijuana.
    * Bans on firearms based upon cosmetic appearance. This is the most troubling because the bogus legal reasoning behind these bans leaves the door wide open to wide bans on entire classes of firearms, not just the so-called “assault weapons”.

    Expect a Hillary Clinton Supreme Court to uphold all of these laws and more, including the bankruptcy of gun makers by frivolous lawsuit.

  8. Elect GayJay and he’ll put Merrick Garland on the court.

    1. Elect GayJasy and he will personally go to everybody’s house and take all of their guns and fightin’ chickens! SIV just knows it.

  9. The president of the National Organization for Women questioned Garland’s commitment to abortion rights, for example, while left-wing pundits complained that it was “extremely disappointing” to see the nomination of more “white men.”

    I’m completely baffled as to the reason why more white men aren’t leftists. White guys must be racist or something.

  10. “The president of the National Organization for Women questioned Garland’s commitment to abortion rights, for example, while left-wing pundits complained that it was “extremely disappointing” to see the nomination of more “white men.””

    At least Sotomayer was willing to go further:

    http://www.jewishpress.com/new…..016/04/09/

    1. I don’t see NASCAR sluts in ripped Dale Earnhardt shirts being represented on the court. This needs to change.

  11. Any word on whether the Senate, which took a principled stand that the next President should be the one to fill a vacancy in the SCOTUS should a vacancy occur during an election year, are reconsidering that principle if Hillary gets elected?

    1. Nah. The Repubs will wet their pants with eagerness to nominate pretty much anyone Hillary nominates.

    2. Strictly speaking, I think they only feel obligated to properly consider and vote on the candidate, not to accept him/her/xir.

  12. I would think the wheels to get Garland’s nomination approved will start turning really rapidly if it looks like HRC is going to get elected.

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