Friday, February 19, 2016

Quote of the morning: A nomination is not about the qualifications of the candidate, says Republican Senator

The Quote: "it might be just as well not to have a hearing that would sort of — might mislead the American people into thinking that this is just about the qualifications of the candidate" - Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

Well. There is is. Out in the open. The GOPlins in the US Senate don't give a s#&t about who might be nominated to fill the vacant seat on SCOTUS. Here's the essence of a report in this morning's Daily Star (online at tucson.com).

Obama and his advisers have dismissed the GOP notion that the president will choose a polarizing nominee. Vice President Joe Biden, himself a former Judiciary Committee chairman, said Thursday that Obama "ought to be able to find a consensus candidate" that would appeal to both parties.

"In order to get this done, the president is not going to be able to go out — nor would it be his instinct, anyway — to pick the most liberal jurist in the nation and put them on the court," the vice president told Minnesota Public Radio. "There are plenty of judges (who) are on high courts already who have had unanimous support of the Republicans."

Obama is expected to look closely at a number of appeals court judges, including some who meet Biden's benchmark. Sri Srinivasan and Jane Kelly were both confirmed unanimously by the Senate within the last few years.

Even those credentials are not enough for the GOPlins who line up behind Mitch "one term president" McConnell.

Most Republicans and likeminded groups were holding firm.

The Judicial Crisis Network, headed by a former clerk to conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, said it was spending more than $1 million on ads arguing that "next president chooses the next justice." And Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said it seemed clear that Obama would not get a nominee confirmed unless he were to pick someone in Scalia's mold, preserving the court's ideological balance.

I thought smoking dope or sniffing glue was illegal. Why would a President from Party X nominate a candidate with the sole purpose of preserving the balance on the Court favoring Party Y? Is being a senator harmful to your mental health?

"For that reason, it might be just as well not to have a hearing that would sort of — might mislead the American people into thinking that this is just about the qualifications of the candidate," Toomey said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Because it's bigger than that."

That is exactly the thinking of GOP establishment leaders, according to Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line).

... The only way Democrats can force Republicans to cave here is by successfully portraying the GOP refusal to consider any nominee as so deeply unreasonable and dysfunctional that Republicans decide they’re sustaining too much damage among swing voters to continue holding out.

... the problem for Republicans is also that, if they do go through the motions of giving Obama’s choice a hearing, it will allow the voters to learn more about that person, which could risk requiring them to oppose someone the public comes to support. (Backing Obama’s nominee is apparently a self-evident impossibility.) So the only way out might be to do nothing. The question will then be whether Democrats can extract serious, lasting political pain from it.

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