Daily Report for Executives provides in-depth coverage of unfolding legislative, regulatory, and judicial news from the nation’s capital, the states, and around the world. This daily news service...
By Cheryl Bolen
The unprecedented and unfair treatment of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, will leave a lasting scar on the Senate and could undercut incoming President Donald Trump’s nominee, Obama’s spokesman said.
“Republicans opposed him, not because of anything that Chief Judge Garland ever said or did, but because he simply was nominated by a Democratic president, and that is going to undermine any principled argument that Republican senators may make in support of President Trump’s nominee,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
This will make for an interesting and “lengthy” confirmation process this year, Earnest told reporters at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.
Trump is expected to announce his choice for the Supreme Court within weeks, and conservative groups that had worked to block Obama’s nominee already are pledging millions of dollars to support Trump’s nomination.
Earnest said that outside interest groups have a clear mandate to pursue the judicial philosophy they support and have been consistent, so their mission is not surprising.
“What was profoundly disappointing is that you had senators with a very different mandate—who swore an oath to do something different—but pursued the same kind of political strategy that put the interests of their party ahead of the interests of the country,” Earnest said.
The unprecedented injection of partisan politics into the selection of the Supreme Court nominee was bad for the country, the criminal justice system and democracy, he said.
The Republican tactic of the “ends justify the means” not only will leave a scar, but will “undermine badly” the credibility of Republican senators as they advocate for Trump’s nominee, Earnest said.
Republicans did not evaluate Garland on the merits, Earnest said. They acknowledged that Garland was the most experienced nominee in history and had spent more time on the federal bench than any other nominee, he said.
Republicans had praised Garland, who has “impeccable legal credentials,” as exactly the kind of person who deserved bipartisan support, Earnest said.
Looking ahead, if Democrats were in a position to filibuster the nomination of Trump’s nominee, that would mean that Trump’s nominee got a hearing and was put up for a vote on the Senate floor, Earnest said.
That would mean the career, quality, competence and character of Trump’s nominee would have been considered, Earnest said.
“Republicans in the Senate didn’t do any of those things with regard to Merrick Garland,” he said. “They didn’t give him a hearing, they didn’t give him a vote and they didn’t consider him based on the qualities that he would bring to the job.”
If the Senate had done that, Garland would have been confirmed, Earnest said.
“They made a political decision that confirming Chief Judge Garland to the Supreme Court would be bad politics,” he said. “That is the only reason they did what they did. And that is an abdication of their basic responsibilities as U.S. senators, but it proved to be good politics for them.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Cheryl Bolen in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)