IF EVERY PICK WILL PRODUCE A TANTRUM…. There’s still plenty of scuttlebutt about the direction President Obama will choose when picking the next Supreme Court nominee. Will he “pick a fight,” selecting a solid progressive, or focus more on trying to find a “consensus” nominee who’d be easier to confirm?
The latter approach appears to be based on a faulty assumption — that there are a significant number of Senate Republicans who’ll be reasonable about the confirmation process. It’s a dynamic the White House seems well aware of. Christina Bellantoni had a good report on this.
President Obama thinks Republicans will engage in a full battle over his Supreme Court nominee regardless of the person’s ideological leanings, and in some ways “that realization is liberating for the president” to choose whomever he pleases, an administration official told TPMDC. […]
“It doesn’t matter who he chooses, there is going to be a big ‘ol fight over it. So he doesn’t have to get sidetracked by those sorts of concerns,” the official told me. The GOP has attempted to obstruct “anything of consequence” put forth by the Obama administration since he took office, the official said. “The president is making this decision with a pretty clear view that whoever he chooses is going to provoke a strong reaction on the right,” the official added.
That’s a safe bet. I don’t believe Republicans would be able to block an up-or-down vote on the nominee, but it seems like a near-certainty that conservatives will throw a tantrum under every possible scenario. National Review recently went so far yesterday as to call on Republicans to resist the eventual nominee, no matter who’s selected. Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton told Bellantoni that his far-right group already objects to all of the names on the purported short-list.
So, why make the selection based on a bipartisan “consensus” that won’t materialize anyway? If a mainstream, center-left jurist will be labeled a “wild-eyed liberal radical” by conservatives, why try to placate conservative hysteria?
As Ezra Klein put it a couple of weeks ago, “President Obama could nominate the guy on the Quaker Oats box and Glenn Beck would find a way to connect him to Trotsky on his blackboard (‘you know who else liked oatmeal!?’ ). Moreover, the GOP will enthusiastically help him on that one. Midterm elections are about base mobilization, and nothing is better for base mobilization than an asymmetric Supreme Court fight.”
If the White House is going to get a fight either way, the president might as well pick a nominee in which he and his allies can take some pride.