But the president didn't choose someone to put on the Court. He chose someone to be blockaded. I think it was a canny choice.
Republicans have said they won't consider anybody. Really? the president is saying. You won't even consider this guy? Remember, he's been praised by Orrin Hatch:
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told Newsmax last week that President Obama “could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man” to the Supreme Court.And before that, there was this, in 2010 (hat tip: Adam Weinstein):
But he quickly added, “He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election. So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the liberal Democratic base wants.”
A Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Thursday he would help moderate jurist Merrick Garland win Senate confirmation if President Barack Obama nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court.Also this:
Senator Orrin Hatch said he had known the federal appeals court judge, seen as a leading contender for the Supreme Court, for years and that he would be "a consensus nominee."
Asked if Garland would win Senate confirmation with bipartisan support, Hatch told Reuters, "No question."
"I have no doubts that Garland would get a lot of (Senate) votes. And I will do my best to help him get them," added Hatch, a former Judiciary Committee chairman.
So they're going to block someone who's been acceptable to them for years.
Chris Hayes says:
Garland makes NO sense if you're thinking in terms of , "who would GOP pay highest political price for blocking" in November.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 16, 2016
But you already have Donald Trump's likely nomination as a reason for non-whites and white progressives to vote Democratic. This pick motivates Democratic voters who are a little closer to the center. Frankly, some of those voters are likely to be ... well, not racist exactly, but people who'd find an African-American or Indian-American nominee less relatable. Obama knows this. If these voters can be motivated to vote Democratic in November by Republican intransigence, they're most likely to respond to a blockade of someone they can identify with.
So I get what Obama's doing. Now let's see how the Republicans react. And if they say, "Well, we told you 'Hell, no,' but we changed our minds," they might pay a price with their base in November.