President Obama Pranks the GOP (SCOTUS/Sandoval Edition)

Seems like there may be another Democrat besides Obama crossing goals off his “rhymes with bucket” list, and his name is Harry Reid…

From the Washington Post article:

The White House is considering picking the Republican governor from Nevada to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court, scrambling political calculations in what is expected to be a contentious confirmation battle in which Senate Republicans have pledged to play the role of roadblock…

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday he would not comment specifically on whether the administration was considering Sandoval because he did not want “to get into a rhythm of responding” to every report on a potential nominee. But he said that Obama was committed to finding “the best person to fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court,” regardless of party.

“The president’s focused on criteria that, frankly, is more important, and that is that individual’s qualifications, and their experience and their view of the law,” Earnest said. “That will take precedence over any sort of political consideration.”…

Cue the usual suspects:

Excellent visual there, Senator. Wonder if the makers of that new prescription laxative are looking for celebrity spokesmodels?

Nevada polical expert Jon Ralston, in the Reno Gazette-Journal:

Sandoval has talked privately about going back on the bench, which he left six years ago to save the state from Jim Gibbons II. He is a judge at heart, a guy who likes to weigh many pieces of evidence before making a decision. As much as he loves being governor, his temperament is more suited to a black robe. Will he ever have a better chance to reach the judicial pinnacle than this moment?

Would President Obama nominate him? The president might get blowback from some Democrats who want someone else. But he could make a strong case, politically, I suppose, that Sandoval could get confirmed.

But could Sandoval get through, especially after Republicans say they won’t hold hearings? This is where Prince Harry comes in. How delicious for him in his legacy year to get a Nevadan appointed to the high court by putting the Republicans in the position of trying to deny it to one of their own, and a Hispanic to boot? Peak Prince Harry

Didn’t take long for the Washington Post — reminder: Company paper in the town whose monopoly industry is national politics — to spot the theatrical possibilities

Is floating Brian Sandoval’s name for SCOTUS just an elaborate troll of Senate Republicans?
… Sandoval’s name out in the ether — a Hispanic Republican who is widely liked within his state and the broader GOP — makes it very hard for Republicans up in 2016 in blue/swing-y states to hold the line. For people like Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Rob Portman (Ohio), there is real electoral danger in being seen as part of a too-radical or too-obstructionist Republican party in Washington. By floating a pick from Republican ranks, Obama/Reid back these GOP senators into a rhetorical corner. Trying to explain why you are flatly rejecting the possibility of a sitting Republican governor being appointed to the Supreme Court by a Democratic president is not any easy thing for even the most adept politician…

Always nice to share a win-win political story!








When Grown Ups Are In Charge

Here’s President Obama, writing in SCOTUSblog* on what he’ll look for in a Supreme Court nominee (h/t Washington Monthly):

First and foremost, the person I appoint will be eminently qualified.  He or she will have an independent mind, rigorous intellect, impeccable credentials, and a record of excellence and integrity.  I’m looking for a mastery of the law, with an ability to hone in on the key issues before the Court, and provide clear answers to complex legal questions.

Second, the person I appoint will be someone who recognizes the limits of the judiciary’s role; who understands that a judge’s job is to interpret the law, not make the law.  I seek judges who approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice, a respect for precedent, and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand.

But I’m also mindful that there will be cases that reach the Supreme Court in which the law is not clear.  There will be cases in which a judge’s analysis necessarily will be shaped by his or her own perspective, ethics, and judgment.  That’s why the third quality I seek in a judge is a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.  It’s the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom; experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times.  That, I believe, is an essential element for arriving at just decisions and fair outcomes.

David_Gilmour_Blythe_-_Justice_-_Google_Art_Project

Also — just in case you were worrying (I wasn’t and am not) that President Obama might take seriously for a moment any suggestion that he should punt on this choice, here’s all you need to know:

The Constitution vests in the President the power to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.  It’s a duty that I take seriously, and one that I will fulfill in the weeks ahead.

I will so miss this man.

*POTUS blogging FTW!

Image:  David Gilmour Blythe, Justicec. 1860



Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Please Proceed, GOP Senators…

Somebody is gonna stagger out of this all-night high-stakes poker game wearing only their soiled undies, and I don’t think it will President Obama. Because, you know, that’s what the record would indicate. From TPM:

Key Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee emerged from a closed door meeting in Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office Tuesday united in their determination not to consider any nominee to replace Antonin Scalia until the next president takes office…

When asked if they would start the process after the new president took office or if they would consider doing it in the lame duck session, Cornyn replied “No, after the next president is selected. That way the American people have a voice in the process.”

The Republican members of the Judiciary Commitee were unanimous in agreeing not to move forward with any Obama nominee for the Supreme Court, said Cornyn, who was in the meeting. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who was not in the meeting, later said that GOP senators were told at their weekly lunch that the Judiciary Committee Republicans were in unanimous agreement on the strategy.

Meanwhile, Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Grassley (R-IA) and the rest of the committee Republicans sent a letter to McConnell outlining their plan to block any Obama nominee for Scalia’s seat…

***********

So, what’s on the agenda as we await (& wait & wait — they’re being hand-tallied) the Nevada GOP caucus results later this evening?
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Monday Morning Open Thread

gop debate issues have issues luckovich

(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
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It could always be worse, we could be on Team Repub. Can’t resist sharing a few tweets left over from Saturday’s South Carolina primary…

Apart from schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda as we start another week?
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GOP South Carolina Primary Results Open Thread

Current Google/AP topper, with 2% reporting, splits it 32/22/21.5 for Trump/Cruz/Rubio. Fight to claim second place (aka ‘best of losers’) is gonna be fierce, but then, per Nate Cohn, in the NYTimes, yesterday:

If the polls are right, Donald Trump will win South Carolina on Saturday by a double-digit margin.

That could earn him 100 percent of the state’s delegates.

That’s because the state awards its delegates on a winner-take-all basis by congressional district and statewide. So if Mr. Trump wins every congressional district and the statewide vote, he will win all of the state’s 50 delegates….