American Elephants

Obama Makes Nice With The World’s Dictators, But It’s All Out War With Republicans by The Elephant's Child

President Obama is going full bore community organizer on his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, as he announced yesterday from the Rose Garden:

Of the many powers and responsibilities that the Constitution vests in the presidency, few are more consequential than appointing a Supreme Court justice — particularly one to succeed Justice Scalia, one of the most influential jurists of our time.  …

So this is not a responsibility that I take lightly.  It’s a decision that requires me to set aside short-term expediency and narrow politics, so as to maintain faith with our founders and, perhaps more importantly, with future generations.  That’s why, over the past several weeks, I’ve done my best to set up a rigorous and comprehensive process.  I’ve sought the advice of Republican and Democratic members of Congress.  We’ve reached out to every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to constitutional scholars, to advocacy groups, to bar associations, representing an array of interests and opinions from all across the spectrum.

And today, after completing this exhaustive process, I’ve made my decision.  I’ve selected a nominee who is widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness, and excellence.  These qualities, and his long commitment to public service, have earned him the respect and admiration of leaders from both sides of the aisle.  He will ultimately bring that same character to bear on the Supreme Court, an institution in which he is uniquely prepared to serve immediately.

Today, I am nominating Chief Judge Merrick Brian Garland to join the Supreme Court.  (Applause.)

Followed by a long speech about Judge Garland’s qualifications and various comments on his own Constitutional Duty, and a lot of nonsense about how it is the Republicans Constitutional Duty to give Judge Garland an immediate hearing and confirm him.

President Obama is correct that it is his duty to nominate someone for the office. He is incorrect that it is the Republicans’ duty to give him an immediate hearing and to confirm him. That is not in the Constitution. Republicans believe that confirmation of a new judge should reflect the new president under whom he will serve and the people who voted for that administration — rather than the last few months of a lame-duck presidency.

Here’s a sampling of the president’s rhetoric:

I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing, and then an up or down vote.  If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.  It will mean everything is subject to the most partisan of politics — everything.  It will provoke an endless cycle of more tit-for-tat, and make it increasingly impossible for any President, Democrat or Republican, to carry out their constitutional function.  The reputation of the Supreme Court will inevitably suffer.  Faith in our justice system will inevitably suffer.  Our democracy will ultimately suffer, as well.

He rounded up a group of lefty “experts” — think tank scholars, law professors, political science professors, and history professors to send a “Letter from the Experts: The President’s Supreme Court Nominee Deserves a Chance.”

The summary from Tanya Somander. Director of Digital Rapid Response for the Office of Digital Strategy: Scholars, law professors, and presidential historians write that denying the President’s Supreme Court nominee a hearing is unprecedented.

Well, no it isn’t. The GOP is playing by the same rules that Democrats like Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, and even Barack Obama employed when their party didn’t control the White House. The Senate will be doing its job and fulfilling its Constitutional duties by refusing to confirm the president’s choice just as much as it would by approving him.

Democrats will go full community organizer on this. There’s nothing Obama loves so much as playing political hardball. He never quits. He  has mobilized veterans from his campaign operations to help him push for his Supreme Court nominee. The “new” group will be called “the Constitutional Responsibility Project.” It will be: “a nonprofit organization and solicit donations, develop advertising, coordinate messaging, help manage operatives in the field, respond to attacks on Judge Garland and collect opposition research on Republican opponents.” That’s what  you call hardball.

The Wall Street Journal notes that Garland’s 19 year tenure on the DC  Circuit Court of Appeals “demonstrates a reliable vote for progressive causes.” The National Federation of Independent Business concludes after studying his record that “he would be a strong ally of the regulatory bureaucracy, big labor and trial lawyers.”

He seems to favor stronger gun laws, and has shown a pattern of over-deference to administrative agencies including the EPA. “In a dozen close cases in which the court divided, he sided with the agency every time.”

It looks like a long hot summer.

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