When will Obama nominate the next Supreme?

So, Scalia was buried over the weekend. When do you think Obama will nominate his replacement? And, for extra credit, will the nominee come to a vote? If so, when, and will they be approved?

Being the eternal optimist (HAH!) I say Obama nominates someone the first half of March, the Repubs dither around but eventually agree to a vote in September, and ultimately approve him/her.

Nominates early March. The Republicans spend the next five-six months looking at polling numbers to see what they should do with the nominee.


Shortly after Nov 8th they approve or continue ignoring the nominee depending on which party did better in the Senate and who’ll be moving into the White House in Jan.

Nomination before the Ides of March. Rejection of that nominee, regardless of who it is, in July or August. Nomination of someone else in September, and the GOP runs out the clock.

Yeah, if I were placing bets, that’s probably the scenario I would choose.

I wonder, tho - whether the election could enter in. Say Obama nominates someone middle of the road, Repubs delay, and then come Nov. Dems win the presidency and/or a Senate majority? That could be interesting, if the Repubs had to change to approve Obama’s nominee, to avoid a Dem Senate from approving a more liberal nominee from Hillary or (gasp) Bernie!

I think you’re right that it’s a factor. The current Senate majority might wish to see the result of the election before deciding whether to confirm a pending moderate nominee. But it cuts both ways–if the Dems win the Senate and the Presidency, and there is a moderate nominee pending, they could just withdraw the nomination. (Indeed, they could cite the Republicans own argument that a lame duck President and Senate ought not carry out this task, and just say they’re defining lame duck in the traditional and proper way.)

But I actually think that if the Dems win the WH and not the Senate (which is the far likelier outcome in my view), then the GOP Senate will continue to block even the next President’s nominee(s). Why not? Is any individual Senator sufficiently vulnerable to the attack that they are being intransigent in refusing to confirm someone who is not a textualist-originalist? I’m not so sure. Especially not if they’ve already successfully weathered nearly a year of such attacks. It might just become old news.

Nomination by mid March. Then the usual obstructionism from the Republicans to mid-summer.

And when Justice Ginsberg dies/retires before November, the Republicans as a whole have one gigantic panic attack and shift their attention to passing a resolution mandating only only seven justices on the court. The prevailing argument will be, “this is what the American people want,” - the single worst hunk of over-used political rhetoric we’ve got.

On reflection, I’m not sure they can be ready by mid-March. Assuming they picked a name of a short-list on Day 1, and had already done significant vetting of that person because they were a prior recent nominee or in anticipation of this event, it is still gonna take 30 days to fully vet them for the most intense nomination battle in the modern history of the Republic. The scrutiny is going to be beyond compare. So they are going to have to make sure that the nominee never so much as hired a babysitter without following the tax rules perfectly.

Second half of March. I think he’ll let the Republicans fuss and posture away at least that long and then come out with someone so obviously qualified and more center-left that even they will have a hard time justifying a block.

I’m going with second half of March as well.

And the nominee won’t get as far as Judiciary Committee hearings. The Court will continue to have its present composition until:

a) One of the current members dies or retires;
b) the GOP Presidential nominee wins and is inaugurated; or
c) the Dems get a Senate majority and abolish the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations.

Yeah, I’m coming around to that view as well RTFirefly. One by one, our customary institutions will wilt under the hot sun of intense partisanship.

I really don’t know, but since Scalia’s death was unexpected, it might take them some time to find and vet options. Obviously, the news media is already throwing around names, but Obama is going to have a fight over anyone, and he’s going to want to be prepared for it. He’ll certain need total support from his own party and he’ll want to feel out the Republicans who might be persuaded to break ranks.

I answered May based on that thinking.

One other reason for this thinking: that gives plenty of time for the court to have a real split opinion that matters, which lets Obama make a much stronger case. It’s not “If this impacts the Judicial process…” it will be “Here’s the impact being short a Justice has already had…”

A delay like that also lets Obama appear to be “just doing his job” rather than “eagerly taking over the court” as the Republicans will certainly insist is the case.

With the Kagan and Sotomayor nominations it was about 30 days to make the nomination after the previous justices retired, and then about 60 days more for a confirmation vote. So even with that timeline we would be looking at mid May before a new justice could be seated. And that is after the last arguments will have been heard for the current session. Next cases will not be argued until October. So mid May is just as good as late September as far as the court’s business is concerned.

Given that, I assume that Republicans will decide that a delay from late September to early November is only six weeks or so and by stalling that much further they get valuable information about the election results.

So, my predictions… Obama takes a little longer to present his nominee - six weeks instead of four, giving an announcement near the end of March. This is to conduct the necessary vetting and perhaps talk a sacrificial lamb into accepting the nod.

Senate schedules Judiciary Committee hearings so as to feign action with no intent of having a vote before the election. If the Republicans win the Senate and White House then there will never be a vota on the nominee, with Republicans citing the will of the people.

I didn’t think Supremes were appointed by Obama. Aren’t they hand-picked by Diana Ross?

Ooh Congeress? Dove Congress? Dove
I need you, oh how I need you
But all you do is treat me bad
Break my heart and leave me sad
Tell me, what did I do wrong
To make you stay away so long…

'Cause Congeress? Dove, my Congeress? Dove
Been missing ya, hate dissin ya
Instead of breaking up
Think of America and making up
Don’t throw our land away
(For Fucks Sake, Just Earn Your Pay…!)

Joe Biden Argued for Delaying Supreme Court Picks in 1992

While it was the end of June '92 and it’s currently the end of February, I don’t think that’s enough time difference for him to credibly change his stance.

That said, after May and the senate runs out the clock on it.

Wait, I used to watch Mafioso movies. I think it goes something like this: