Democratic strategy regarding Supreme Court justices

The Republican party made clear that it is now acceptable to block the opposing party’s nominations to the Supreme Court for no reason other than that the nomination was made by a Democrat. I disagreed with this, and still do. However, if the Democratic party doesn’t do something similar, it will almost inevitably eventually come to pass that every single Supreme Court justice will be a Republican nominee. So, I’m somewhat torn as to what the Democrats should do. Personally, I want things to go back to where they were; the president makes a nomination, the opposing party is harsh and then votes based on qualifications, and eventually something akin to the right thing happens. Sotomayor, Kagan, Roberts, Alito. One or more of these may not be your cup of tea, but each is qualified and appropriate and was given a fair, if testy at times, hearing and was confirmed.

The only possible way back to this that I can see is the Democrats making their strategy clear. We will block every single Republican nomination who is not named Merrick Garland until Garland is put on the bench. Once he is rightfully put there, we will honestly consider the qualifications of GOP nominees and give them the hearing that Garland was denied. Being conservative will not be a reason to block any nominee after Garland, but until then, not being Merrick Garland will be a reason to block any nominee. Elections have consequences, and the consequence of Obama’s election was he gets that nomination. The consequence of Trump’s election is he gets the ones that come next.

Of course, this all assumes the GOP doesn’t block the Democratic party from filibustering…

Democrats should say Trump shouldn’t nominate anyone in his last year of office, on the assumption that his impeachment is in a perpetual state of imminence.

This is a tough one. I can see what the OP is saying, I can somewhat sympathize. The problem is, that will most likely cause the Republicans to eliminate the filibuster for SCOTUS justices, and that will be that. Now, maybe that’s a good thing in the long run, but it’s not going to get MG onto the court.

I suppose the Republicans should have voted against any nominee not named Bork …

I don’t think the Swedish Chef has sufficient judicial experience.

As mentioned, remove the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees and the Democrats can go pound sand.

That’s not how it works.

You lost the election. You don’t get what you want.


What we need is a Constitutional amendment to institute a system for putting people on the Supreme Court. Yes, I said “institute”, not “reform” or “change”, because what we have now doesn’t work at all unless both sides play fair.

Right now, we’re worried about who Trump will nominate to fill Scalia’s former seat. That’s the wrong worry. What we should be worried about is Trump nominating ten justices to fill Scalia’s seat. The Republicans have been laying the groundwork now for a while, by (correctly) pointing out that the Constitution does not set the number of justices at nine: That’s just the result of an ordinary law, that Congress can change all by itself.

This has been tried before, but when FDR tried it, he was stopped by Congress. Would this Congress do likewise?

EDIT: Shodan, by what possible argument can you claim that Democrats lost the 2012 election?

I think the Democrats ought to consider any of Trump’s nominees. Then grill them mercilessly. It will be a chance for Democratic politicians to speak out! And for the late night TV crew to baste the nominees with Sarcasm Sauce…

If Bork had a long history of Democrats calling him qualified for the position and even touting him as the sort of nominee that they would hope Republicans would make, this equivalence might not be as blatantly false. If Bork had been denied a hearing, this might not be ridiculous on its face. If Bork’s replacement nominee had not been unanimously (unanimously!) approved by the Senate, this might have some sheen of honest debate behind it.

But that didn’t happen, so the equivalence is, well, silly.

That’s an impressive change of heart you’ve had on the topic.

I think Ginsburg will tough out another 4 years until past January 2021, waiting for a Democratic president. Same for all the other liberal justices likewise. So all in all it’s well possible that Trump will only ever nominate 1 SCOTUS justice, and your fears are unfounded.

Your lips. God’s ears. But the actuarial tables are not kind, and Weekend at Bernie’s was not a documentary!

The specific details are different, but the core issue is the same: You think your guy was unfairly rejected; do you then reject all the opposition’s people or not? I don’t see any substantive difference.

It’s 2016. Did you need a cite?


“My guy” wasn’t rejected. He wasn’t considered. Bork was. That’s not a specific detail. That’s a substantive fact that makes your comparison silly.

I don’t see that as a meaningful difference. As it happens, while Republicans did not conduct hearings and vote on Garland, the notion that they never considered him is silly. Everyone knows what the issues with Garland are.

But even if this wasn’t true, it would still not be a meaningful difference. Same basic concept. “You did this to our guy, we’ll do the same to all of your guys”. Trying to carve out some sort of difference between being “rejected” or not is meaningless.

And the idea that the Democrats shouldn’t consider any nominee except Garland means that the comparison is quite apt.


You’re seeing this as a way for the GOP to win, and I’m seeing this as a way back to normalcy. You’re being downright progressive with regard to wanting to see changes to the way the Supreme Court nomination process goes moving forward, and I’m advocating for a conservative approach to maintain the way it was intended.

Well the horses out of the barn now so they’re in a tough spot. What they could have been doing is caring more about the long term effect of SCOTUS appointments in their election strategies and taking more populist positions. I’m not saying they should have done that, but they have to weigh their ideals against the practical realities. The high road can be the bumpier road.

Not sure why Obama has not vetoed every piece of legislation put on his desk since Garland was stonewalled.