Tag: Merrick Garland

It’s Time to End Senate Confirmation Hearings


One of the Senate’s unique responsibilities is to “advise and consent” on nominations to senior positions in the Executive Branch, as well as every federal judgeship, from districts to the Supreme Court. It is serious business and takes a lot of time.

I would know since I’ve been a nominee subject to Senate confirmation (Federal Election Commission, 1996. It’s a long story, but I pulled the plug on my own nomination. A story for another day).

The last confirmation hearings that gripped the American public was the Brett Kavanaugh hearing in 2018 for his eventual confirmation to the US Supreme Court. I bet you remember it. Remember Christine Blasey Ford, with her last-minute, vague accusations of sexual abuse, followed by Kavanaugh’s “angry” response? And Senator Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) weak, flaccid acquiesce to an extra week of FBI investigations, despite a clear lack of evidence of any wrongdoing, at the prodding of the well-disguised, deep partisanship of his colleague, Chris Coons (D-DE), who was clearly committed to destroying Kavanaugh’s nomination, along with his reputation? I’ll confess to being somewhat radicalized by it.

Chad Benson is in for Jim today. Chad and Greg examine new research from the Federal Reserve showing the Biden racial equity agenda would actually make the wealth divide much greater. They also react to a pair of House Dems trying to get cable TV providers to cut ties with Fox News, OANN, and Newsmax. And they shake their heads as Merrick Garland draws a peculiar line between what is domestic terrorism and what is not.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America surprisingly find three good martinis for conservatives on Wednesday.  First, they find it interesting that Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser is suddenly refusing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee until an FBI investigation on her accusation is completed.  They also appreciate Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono admitting what a big part of the agenda is for Democrats in this fight, keeping the Supreme Court seat vacant until 2021.  And they get a kick out a Wisconsin man cutting an ad for the opponent of his own brother in a Wisconsin congressional race, leaving Jim and Greg to consider how much more fun it would it would be to conduct sibling fights through 30-second attack ads.

Richard Epstein weighs in on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court and explains what makes an effective justice.

Richard Epstein weighs the dangers of a Donald Trump presidency against those that would attend a Hillary Clinton Administration.

Merrick Garland: Political Pawn


Caplan-Merrick-Garland2-1200The single most important phrase that changed the politics of Supreme Court nominations was Senator Edward Kennedy’s famous and shameful denunciation of “Robert Bork’s America,” with its back alley abortions, segregated lunch counters, and rogue police. From that point on, Supreme Court nominees of either party, and even potential nominees, have risked being attacked in a similar manner. The nomination process of Clarence Thomas was, of course, quite ugly—and there were major tussles during the deliberations over John Roberts and Samuel Alito (who then Senator Obama wanted to filibuster). Now, the Republican opposition is coalescing against Judge Merrick Garland, the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, who at age 63 is Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

The resistance to Garland may prove to be misguided from a political perspective, even if permissible as a constitutional matter. But the Republicans have just doubled down in their game of political chicken by announcing that they will not give Garland a hearing either before or after the election. Whether they have enough ammunition to succeed politically is a complex question.

To help cut through the morass, it is useful, I think, to separate the politics from the man. The opposition to Garland has nothing to do with Garland himself, who is a distinguished public servant and an excellent federal judge. If he were filling a seat vacated by a liberal Democrat, there would not be much fuss. But this appointment involves a shift in control on the Supreme Court. Republicans fear that even the most reasonable liberal Democrat will tip the balance of the Court away from the conservative wing. If Hillary Clinton becomes president, she will doubtless make two or three appointments to the Court, at which point the Democrats will have a complete ideological lock on the Court for at least a generation.

What Republicans Should Have Said (But Won’t) About Obama’s SCOTUS Nomination


In politics, providing a reason for doing what you do is almost as important as doing the thing. Instead of the lame, inside-baseball “We just don’t confirm Supreme Court Justices in an election year” justification Republicans have offered, here’s how they should have clarified their opposition:

We cannot, and will not, confirm any justice to the Supreme Court whose vote would imperil important constitutional rights such as the right to bear arms and the right to freely practice and exercise religion.