Supreme Court Roulette
President Obama has reiterated this week that he will proceed with nominating a replacement for the deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. As if already primed and waiting for the President to speak, Senator Chuck Grassley, Senate Judiciary Chairman, announced quickly that there would be no hearings on any Obama nominations. What are the GOP and Senate leadership thinking? Can it be as simple as denying President Obama the legacy of having appointed three Justices?
Republicans know that their majority in the Senate is at risk in the general elections but like good poker players the GOP doesn’t want to telegraph any vulnerability. Republicans also know that national demographics present them with an uphill battle to win the White House, but…
Could it be that the current GOP position (no hearings at all) is just a current position. Is the GOP waiting to see if Bernie Sanders beats out Hillary for the nomination? Republicans may think the odds are better running against a “communist” (social Democrat will become socialist and that will morph into communist during the campaign).
Could it be the GOP thinks Hillary will be mortally wounded by November, possibly indicted over the use of a private email account?
Could it be that the prevailing demographics will somehow overlook comprehensive immigration reform, gay rights (equal protections under the law), or changes to Roe v Wade? If the GOP does think that might happen, they are dreaming or otherwise, how could they sleep?
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell is most likely playing “chicken” until he gets a better read on GOP Congress members at risk this fall for reelection, and to better gage who the Democrats will actually nominate. If McConnell concludes the GOP could win the White House, there will be no hearings.
If McConnell concludes he might lose the Senate majority, then he might see hearings as a way to minimize the perception that the GOP are just obstructionists.
And, in the possibility that Donald Trump becomes the GOP standard bearer, there is a real possibility that Trump will call for hearings in order to distance himself from an electorate seeing the Republican tactic for what it is, obstructionist and unfair, and not in American tradition.