President Obama nominates a sacrificial lamb to be sacrificed on the altar of GOP obstructionism


In a somewhat surprising move, President Obama selected the oldest of the candidates under consideration for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, an appellate judge considered a moderate by most objective court observers. President Obama nominates Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court:

GarlandPresident Obama on Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, setting up a protracted political fight with Republicans who have vowed to block any candidate picked by Obama in his final year in office.

Garland, 63, is a longtime Washington lawyer and jurist who is chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Considered a moderate, Garland is widely respected in the D.C. legal community and was also a finalist for the first two Supreme Court vacancies Obama filled.

In announcing his choice in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he followed “a rigorous and comprehensive process” and that he reached out to members of both parties, legal associations and advocacy groups to gauge opinions from “across the spectrum.”

He said Garland “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.”

mitch_mcconnell_frown-cropped-proto-custom_2To which the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said “who cares?”

McConnell reiterated Wednesday that the GOP-controlled Senate would refuse to consider Garland’s nomination.  Republicans refuse to budge following Garland nomination to Supreme Court.

Insurrectionist Tea-Publicans are engaged in a “blockade” — an act of war — against the U.S. Constitution and President Obama. The Tea-Publicans are doing the bidding of the Plutocrats whom they serve, aided by the “Kochtopus” funded right-wing “dark money” front group Judicial Crisis Network. Judicial Crisis Network plans $2 million ad campaign opposing Obama’s court pick:

The conservative Judicial Crisis Network on Wednesday lambasted Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, putting into stark relief his record on the Second Amendment, abortion and suggesting that his deference toward government agencies would be to the detriment of the country. (Media Matters: Judicial Crisis Network Releases New False Attack On Merrick Garland’s Judicial Record On Guns.)

The group also announced an immediate $2 million ad buy to oppose Garland.

The outside group is planning a national ad campaign alongside state specific ad buys in the wake of Obama’s expected announcement on Wednesday, a source familiar with the plans said. The group also circulated talking points and America Rising research aimed at undermining the nominee to Republicans on and off Capitol Hill this week.

The major ad drop will bring the network’s total spending to nearly $4 million since Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. The group, headed by Carrie Severino, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, has also backed the GOP Senate’s nomination blockade and attacked prospective nominee Judge Jane Kelly, a federal appeals court judge, in previous ads.

In a conference call with reporters, Severino referred to Garland’s “history of general hostility to the Second Amendment,” specifically his vote for the D.C. Circuit to review its ruling of a restrictive gun law that had been previously struck down, in a case that went to the Supreme Court as District of Columbia v. Heller.

Brian Rogers, the executive director of America Rising Squared, called Garland “probably the most anti-gun Supreme Court nomination in decades.”

For more background on this right-wing “dark money” front group, see The Daily Beast, The JCN Story: How to Build a Secretive, Right-Wing Judicial Machine.

Media Matters reports, Right-Wing Media Immediately Oppose Garland’s Nomination, and this Conservative Group Leading Obstruction Effort Against Merrick Garland Previously Lauded Him, and this Conservatives Have Been Praising Garland For Years.

What we are really dealing with here is Obama Derangement Syndrome and Tea-Publican authoritarians’ sense of a divine right to control the U.S. Supreme Court with conservative activist justices who falsely claim to be originalists and textualists, while using their position to rewrite the Constitution to suit their right-wing political ideology, like Antonin Scalia did.

Rick Hasen writes at his blog, Merrick Garland as Obama Compromise #SCOTUS Nominee, But Not (Only) Because of His Moderate Politics:

Garland is indeed a moderate, someone who will not excite the Democratic base the way other nominations would.  But the same could be said for Sri Srinivasan, who seemed to have the inside track for the nomination until moments before the Garland news leaked.  While Garland and Srinivasan may differ slightly on ideology, it is not enough to sway Obama to choose one over the other.

So what explains Garland over Srinivasan? One possibility, as I suggested on Twitter last night, is that Srinivasan did not want to be nominated, to be the “pinata” with less than even odds of being confirmed.  He’d rather save himself for the next Democratic president.  That’s certainly one possibility.

The other is that Garland was chosen because he is significantly older (63 vs 49).  . . . It gives the President a win, but one which as a matter of probability and actuary tables won’t be on the Court as long.  It is a way for Obama to say that he could have reached for greater power over SCOTUS, but compromised.

In short, Garland’s age, which may make some liberals oppose his nomination, may be precisely what is attractive to the President who actually wants to appoint someone to #SCOTUS, and not just put up the human pinata.

I have to disagree. Judge Garland had to have known before agreeing to this nomination that he stood little or no chance of being confirmed by this insurrectionist Tea-Publican Senate (a Republican Senate previously stonewalled his nomination to the court of appeals in 1996, before President Clinton — after winning reelection — resubmitted his name and Garland was confirmed in 1997. He has lived this nightmare before. ) Judge Garland had to knowingly agree to be the “human pinata,” or the sacrificial lamb to be sacrificed on the altar of GOP obstructionism.

Paul Waldman at the Washington Post explains a scenario in which Judge Garland could be confirmed. Why Republicans might actually put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court. We’ll see.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. President Obama doesn’t DO sacrificial lambs. After nearly 8 years, I was thinking you would know this:)

    • And you know this because you were in the room with President Obama and Judge Garland when they discussed his nomination? I think not.

  2. I think Garland is a very smart pick. We are already seeing cracks in the GOP, with at least 7 Senators now saying they will meet with him. Senators like Ayotte, Portman and Kirk are going to be under increasing pressure in their home states to hold a hearing.
    Jeff Flake seems to be much more reasonable than John McCain on most issues. Perhaps the time he has spent with Martin Heinrich (D-NM) has given him a little more perspective. But I hope that Ann Kirkpatrick continues to go after McCain for his dereliction of duty.

  3. John McCain cannot vote for or against ANY legislation or judicial or executive nominee. He is a lame duck in the last year of his term. Just using his own senile old logic.

    • Agreed. There is the concept of “taking one for the team,” the act of someone willingly making a sacrifice for the benefit of others. This concept is apparently lost on others.

  4. Political brilliance on Obama’s part. The next one will be more liberal, and Senate Rs will regret turning down the moderate, which is why they’re floating the idea of looking at Garland in lame duck session, after they lose the election.
    There are 21 R senators up for reelection. Shouldn’t they be fired for not doing their jobs?

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