Today we got a nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court opened by the death of Senior Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Derrick Garland, Chief Justice of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was chosen by President Obama to fill this critical vacancy. However, now we must await to see how much obstruction the Senate GOP majority intends to bring to this nomination.
Garland is a brilliant pick, a moderate and incredibly experienced judge. This puts to bed the potential argument that the nominee would not be qualified. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has long served the most influential court apart from the Supreme Court and has been seen as something of a training ground for future justices on the Supreme Court.
Picking Garland is calling the bluff of the Senate GOP. Senator Orrin Hatch has already said that Garland would be a great pick. Though this might be because he would be a relatively older justice and his moderate streak, President Obama’s decision not to pick a liberal that the democratic base would want and instead pick a moderate shows that the President is acting like a leader and adult in nominating a practical choice that should, under normal circumstances, garner an easy majority in the Senate.
This is simply to say that there are reasons that liberals and conservatives don’t want to see him on the Court, but here the center should and must hold. Certainly as a liberal his strong prosecutorial and criminal justice stances may make me a bit nervous. But despite these objections, Garland is eminently qualified for this position and deserves to be nominated.
Let us hope that the picking of a moderate justice causes the GOP caucus in the Senate to reconsider. With such a serious nominee on the table, it seems that, especially for the Senators up for close reelection, that obstruction would quickly become untenable. I know that I certainly would not want to face those attack ads.
Now that we have a nominee, let’s get a hearing and a vote!