So Mitch McConnell says he won’t let any Obama nominees to the Supreme Court be confirmed this Congress. This is bluster, of course. He’ll say this to the media, Washington can be scandalized for a week, and later Congress will back down.
But imagine him actually trying to block any nominee. What’s Obama’s play?
- First, of course, Obama should nominate some perfectly reasonable candidate. I’m not going to get into the merits of different federal judges. Whoever. Pick one.
Let’s say Grassley and McConnell decide just to filibuster the perfectly reasonable candidate. What should Obama do then?
A modest proposal: Nominate the frontrunner in the GOP Presidential nomination contest. Which will probably still be Donald John Trump. “But wait!” you say, “Trump wouldn’t take the job!” Well, maybe not, in which case jump to step 3. But what if he does? The GOP then can confirm him, which would be the silliest thing ever, or point out that Donald Trump is not remotely a sensible choice for the Supreme Court. Probably the second. So then either Trump is on the bench, or more likely his name is withdrawn, possibly with some shouts of, “Loser clown!” It’s not clear his candidacy would survive.
Once Trump’s name is withdrawn, nominate Ted Cruz. This has got to be attractive to Cruz. He could be on the high court for life, and maybe try to bring back a Lochner-era ethos or whatever. But during the confirmation vote, the GOP has to figure out what to do with him. Do they confirm the head of the Freedom Caucus in the hope that he’ll leave Congress go away? Or do they refuse to nominate him on the grounds that the bench is too good a deal for Shutdown Boy? Again, the GOP are going to be arguing about Ted Cruz, and disrupting his campaign.
If one of these two nuts is confirmed, then they’re probably out of the Presidential race. (Although Cruz might try to run for President while serving on the court.) If–as seems more likely–neither is, then the GOP will have been reduced to arguing against a justiceship for someone who wants to able to nominate justices.
This is incredibly silly, and probably abysmally stupid. But then, so is what McConnell’s saying.