Supreme Court

Sen. Jeff Flake: If Hillary Clinton Wins, GOP Should Vote Quickly on Merrick Garland's SCOTUS Nomination

What happens to Merrick Garland after the November election?

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C-SPAN

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona has a message for his fellow Republicans. In an interview with Politico, Flake said that if Hillary Clinton wins the election next month, Senate Republicans should stop stonewalling and instead move quickly to hold hearings and a vote on Merrick Garland, the languishing Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Barack Obama back in March. "If Hillary Clinton is president-elect then we should move forward with hearings in the lame duck," Flake said. "That's what I'm encouraging my colleagues to do."

What explains Flake's thinking? In the words of Politico, "the political calculus is straightforward: Better to deal with Garland now and avoid swallowing a more liberal nominee from Hillary Clinton."

But not every Republican is on the same page as Flake. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, for example, believes that Garland will be just as left-wing as any nominee that Clinton might offer. "I don't believe there would be a real substantive distinction, a real noticeable difference between the voting pattern of a justice who would be appointed by a President Hillary Clinton…and Merrick Garland," Lee recently said.

Meanwhile, over in the House of Representatives, Republican Congressman Justin Amash disagrees with all of the above. According to Amash, the Senate should reject Garland right now because Garland is a lousy nominee in his own right—plus, Garland may well be worse than anybody put forward by Hillary Clinton. "Odds are the next president will pick someone less extreme than the anti-libertarian Garland," Amash wrote last night on Twitter. Amash then elaborated on the point: "Garland is 'moderate' only from the view of political elites. His record is anti-civil liberties and pro-unchecked executive powers."

Amash is correct about Garland's record, which is replete with judicial deference to both law enforcement agencies and to the executive branch.

All of which raises an interesting question. If the Senate does hold hearings on the Garland nomination, how many Senate Republicans will be forced to admit that they approve of Garland's judicial passivity in these important areas of the law? Like it or not, the Senate is not exactly packed to the gills with libertarian-minded lawmakers in the vein of Justin Amash (or Rand Paul). What will traditional conservatives have to say about Garland's record on these matters? What about the so-called law and order crowd? Remember, from the standpoint of a certain type of legal conservatism, the courts should be deferential towards the actions of police and prosecutors, or should be deferential towards the "inherent" powers of the presidency. Perhaps Garland will pick up more than a few votes from those segments of the Senate GOP.

If nothing else, Senate confirmation hearings on Merrrick Garland would be a positive development because they might force conservative lawmakers to publicly air their differences on these crucial legal questions.

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  1. Uh, the Clinton Machine will simply “create” another opening on the Court.

    1. We’ll find Clarence Thomas’ body next to Vince foster?

      1. RBG can finally head toward the light knowing whoever fills her seat will carry on her sacred mission.

        1. ‘Into the vats old, out of the vats new’. For the good of the hive.

  2. “That is why I’m proud to nominate Orville Redenbacher to the United States Supreme Court.”

    1. For SCOTUS, I would take Orville Redenbacher’s dessicated corpse over…

        1. #undeadlivesmatter

          1. I believe that’s an official DNC get-out-the-vote hashtag you’re mocking there.

      1. 50-50 trade for old lady Ginsberg? Even experts would have a hard time telling the difference …

  3. “If nothing else, Senate confirmation hearings on Merrrick Garland would be a positive development because they might force conservative lawmakers to publicly air their differences on these crucial legal questions.”

    Oh give me a break. It would all be grandstanding and theater.

  4. Well, hell. Now I gotta recalibrate my settings for Flake on whether he’s one of the good ones or not. It sure does sound to me like your “principled” stand on the next President properly being the one to fill a vacancy that occurs during an election year wasn’t so principled after all, just the usual partisan political shit-weaselry. And that what you’re saying is the best thing for the GOP is to fold up like a newspaper to Obama now rather than fold up like a newspaper to Hillary later because you know damn well the option of not folding like a newspaper is off the table. I get that the GOP wants to be all “inclusive” so they allow invertebrates to hold office, but can’t they at least get more than 5 or 6 that have a spine?

    1. One of the good ones? Hmmm. Flake is perhaps not as bad as some, but there are damn few if any good ones.

  5. Hold hearings.

    Reject nominee.

    Repeat as necessary.

  6. Putting a white man, who was nominated by our black President, on the court might be construed as a thumb in the eye by some people.

  7. how many Senate Republicans will be forced to admit that they approve of Garland’s judicial passivity in these important areas of the law?

    It will simplify matters to count the ones who don’t.

  8. If the R’s still control the Senate after the election they should not let anyone on the court.

    1. If the R’s had the balls to stand on principle they would be voting on President Rand Paul’s nominees. The fact that their nominee is Donald Trump is all due to the fact that they got no balls and they got no principles. We can’t salute ya, can’t find a flag – if that don’t suit ya, that’s a drag.

      1. Rand played footsie on immigration for too long. He got what he earned.

        1. President Hillary thanks you for your nativist idiocy.

          1. And Hillary thanks SugarFree for being a useful idiot.

            1. Poor Trumpie has a sad.

    2. This x1000. If Hillary wins, the Republicans should just downvote any of her nominees. There’s nothing in the Constitution stating the SCOTUS must have x number of Justices. But of course, the Republicans wouldn’t have the balls to do such a thing. They’d get called mean things by the statist media. Can’t have that.

  9. The more things like this come up, the more clear it becomes: the GOPers don’t want even a nominal Repub in the Oval Office and Trump makes a convenient proxy for that. They prefer to be the permanent opposition party, so they can bitch about what the other side is doing or wants to do without ever having to take responsibility for governing. They preserve their own cronyism and lifestyles, get favorable treatment in the press, and all the other trappings without any of the heavy lifting.

    1. It’s easier to curse the darkness than to light a single candle.

    2. Conservatives haven’t conserved anything the last 30 years. They’ve been slowly letting the left win every battle but I think they’ve been too stupid to realize that.

  10. The day after the election, they should confirm Garland. The day after that they should start impeachment hearings against Hillary Clinton.

  11. That’s what I been sayin!

  12. “the political calculus is straightforward: Better to deal with Garland now and avoid swallowing a more liberal nominee from Hillary Clinton.”

    Or you could stand on your principles (haha I know…Republicans with principles is an oxymoron) and reject Garland and anyone Clinton, Inc. would nominate. At what point after winning an election do congressional Republicans get their nut sack removed? Cucks indeed.

    1. They lose them when they lose the senate on November 8th. You think they’ll be able to go 4-8 years without appointing a new justice? Hell, by then there may only be 5 or 6 left.

      In principle, it’s hypocritical, but then again what was the principle to begin with? If we’re talking about principles, thy should’ve let Obama get his appointee in, there was more than enough time to do it. The delay wasn’t principled at all; it was a (bad) strategic move.

      I read not long ago some article in a lefty rag (WaPo maybe) about what a devious tactical genius McConnell is. They really want to build him up into a worthy villain, but it looks like he’s a bona fide moron. If he were smart, he would’ve let Garland in. Even back then Trump’s odds weren’t good, and he probably wouldn’t have picked anyone better, while Hillary will almost certainly pick someone worse. It was a bad move to delay this. An ill-placed bet.

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