Now Scalia’s gone, will there be a new direction?
The answer, it appears, depends on who wins the election
In the meantime though a nominee is totally endearing
Don’t hold your breath expecting that he’ll even get a hearing 

            Who will replace Antonin  Scalia on the Supreme Court? For the time being, it seems, no-one, given the Senate Republican leaders’ decision to allow no action on Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland until after the presidential election.

            Of course, this doesn’t mean they really believe that politics should play no part in the selection process. It’s just that they don’t want to endorse a candidate who is likely to change the balance of the Court away from conservatism for years to come. That, of course, is exactly what Democrats are hoping for; Slate magazine was just a little over the top with its assertion that “when you are replacing Scalia, the appointment of Attila the Hun would shift the Supreme Court to the left.” 

            There is experience from the past to bolster these fears and hopes. Dwight Eisenhower is alleged to have called his nomination of Earl Warren as Chief Justice “the worst damn-fool mistake I ever made”, for the Warren Court proved to be the most liberal in American history. Then there is George H.W. Bush’s appointment of David Souter, who was thought to be a safe conservative bet. In fact he became more and more liberal in his time on the Court, and was actually one of the minority of four who voted for Gore in Bush v. Gore. The Republicans have no intention of making that mistake again.

            It is true that several Republican Senators had earlier spoken favorably of  Garland as highly qualified and more moderate than other possibilities. Online the conservative publication , hotair.com, conceded that “there are clearly far more odious choices out there waiting in the wings (Justice Elizabeth Warren, anyone?)”. Even so, said the magazine, on issues like gun control Garland was a dangerous threat.

            Several satirists leapt to Garland’s defense. If a Justice Warren wasn’t enough to frighten Republicans, a Jim Morin cartoon had the Senate Republicans, after a prospective Democratic sweep in the election, meeting the new Supreme Court Justice -- Barrack Obama. Then there was a Margolis cartoon portraying Obama as a piñata being beaten as he pleads: “I ask that the Senate treat my Supreme Court nominee fairly.”, and  Robin Williams drew a man saying: “Obama picked some decent, honest, modest  centrist for the Supreme Court”, to which the response was “That’s so out of touch with the country.”

            The Onion, of course, was the most outrageous, featuring a picture of a blood-spattered GOP leader, Mitch McConnell, holding up the severed head of Merrick Garland in front of the Capitol building, true to his warning: “We vowed no nominees would be considered. There shall be no hearing. Do not attempt to silence the voice of the American people.”

Posted on Friday, March 25, 2016 (Archive on Thursday, December 20, 2018)



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