Plea Bargaining with Merrick Garland

President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge on the federal DC circuit court of appeals, as a U.S. Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

Few would describe Garland a flaming liberal, in the mold of current Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, or former Justice John Paul Stevens. More likely a less flamboyant liberal, but liberal just the same, as his mentor Justice William Brennan, for whom Garland clerked in 1978-79.

Brennan was a champion of the First Amendment, perhaps Garland will follow suit.

Yet Brennan was both the ghostwriter for Justice Blackmun’s majority opinion in Roe v Wade, and as at least one commentator asserts, the author of the three worst liberal SCOTUS opinions ever.

The most notorious was Plyler v Doe in 1982, ruling that children of illegal immigrants have a right to free public education. It is hard not to see Garland’s alignment here to Brennan.

On his own, Garland has gold-plated his liberal credentials by denying the 2nd Amendment, most egregiously voting to rehear a case in which a DC ban on handguns for personal protection was overturned.

Of course Obama & Co will paint Garland as an exceptionally well-qualified moderate jurist, far from an intemperate ideologue.

In turn, Obama is offering a cynical plea bargain daring U.S. Senate Republicans to reject the most reasonable nominee now, risking the prospect that a presumptive president Hillary Clinton will nominate someone far worse, perhaps accompanied by a 2016 elected Democratic U.S. Senate majority.

All the same, there’s no rush for U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee chair Charles Grassley, & Co, to prematurely capitulate.  There’s a lot of electioneering, and plenty of time to cave in between now and November.

President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge on the federal DC circuit court of appeals, as a U.S. Supreme Court justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia.

Few would describe Garland a flaming liberal, in the mold of current Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, or former Justice John Paul Stevens. More likely a less flamboyant liberal, but liberal just the same, as his mentor Justice William Brennan, for whom Garland clerked in 1978-79.

Brennan was a champion of the First Amendment, perhaps Garland will follow suit.

Yet Brennan was both the ghostwriter for Justice Blackmun’s majority opinion in Roe v Wade, and as at least one commentator asserts, the author of the three worst liberal SCOTUS opinions ever.

The most notorious was Plyler v Doe in 1982, ruling that children of illegal immigrants have a right to free public education. It is hard not to see Garland’s alignment here to Brennan.

On his own, Garland has gold-plated his liberal credentials by denying the 2nd Amendment, most egregiously voting to rehear a case in which a DC ban on handguns for personal protection was overturned.

Of course Obama & Co will paint Garland as an exceptionally well-qualified moderate jurist, far from an intemperate ideologue.

In turn, Obama is offering a cynical plea bargain daring U.S. Senate Republicans to reject the most reasonable nominee now, risking the prospect that a presumptive president Hillary Clinton will nominate someone far worse, perhaps accompanied by a 2016 elected Democratic U.S. Senate majority.

All the same, there’s no rush for U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee chair Charles Grassley, & Co, to prematurely capitulate.  There’s a lot of electioneering, and plenty of time to cave in between now and November.