According to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, his conversations with the president have led him to believe that Obama will nominate a Supreme Court justice soon. “We’re going to have someone in the next few weeks,” Reid said in an interview with MSNBC. “I think it will be a little over three weeks.”
Reid predicted that after all the talk coming from Senate Republicans, the GOP would eventually agree to a vote on confirmation. That would be a devastating, if unsurprising, betrayal; already, several Republicans – including Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley – have softened their tone on blocking an Obama nominee. And if the last seven years have taught us anything, it’s that Republicans fold like a house of cards when push comes to shove.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” Mitch McConnell said after news broke of Antonin Scalia’s death. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
But McConnell and his fellow Republicans have been slaughtered in the mainstream press for this position. Some of the more idiotic political pundits have even accused the GOP of being racist in refusing to allow Obama a choice. If history is any indication, Republicans get nervous when the media gangs up on them. Surrender is usually quick to follow.
For his part, Vice President Joe Biden said that he thought Obama should choose someone that everyone could get behind. “My advice is, the only way we get someone on the court, now or even later, is to do what we’ve done in the past…we have to pick somebody, as the president will, who is intellectually competent, is a person of high moral character, is a person who is demonstrated to have an open mind, and is a person who doesn’t come with a specific agenda,” Biden said in a Politico interview.
“But the idea that we’re going to go in and decide we’re going to pick, I don’t know, a new Justice Brennan, I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Biden continued. “That’s not how the system works.”
If Obama were to take his veep’s advice and nominate a moderate, things could actually get interesting. By blocking a moderate, the Senate would be taking a big gamble on winning the White House in November. If they don’t, and if they lose their majority, the new Democrat will have a much easier time pushing a raging liberal through to the Court. But if they confirm Obama’s moderate and then we elect a Republican president, we will have missed out on a chance to keep a strong conservative seat on the panel.
What is not an option is to confirm a liberal Obama nominee. If Senate Republicans do that, the anti-establishment war of 2015/2016 will be nothing compared to the uprising to follow.