First-term President Obama made a surprise reappearance today and announced the nomination of a “centrist” SCOTUS pick, Merrick Garland. Some guy at Salon wrote,
Itâ€™s easy to understand why. Garland is the epitome of a bland choice: a centrist, impeccably credentialed white man. In choosing him, Obama passed over several more interesting and/or liberal picks, and nominated someone whose judicial history suggests he might actually move the court to the right on criminal justice issues. In an election year, atÂ a time when Democrats are fervently pitching themselves as the party of a changing, increasingly diverse nation, when the nominee could have been the potential embodiment of a leftward transformation on the court, Garland is a deflating sort of pick.
In other words, he sounds like another Anthony Kennedy to me. We’re squandering a court pick for this?
This is from ThinkProgress:
The former prosecutor also has a relatively conservative record on criminal justice. A 2010 examination of his decisions by SCOTUSBlog’s Tom Goldstein determined that â€œJudge Garland rarely votes in favor of criminal defendantsâ€™ appeals of their convictions.â€ Goldstein â€œidentified only eight such published rulings,â€ in addition to seven where â€œhe voted to reverse the defendantâ€™s sentence in whole or in part, or to permit the defendant to raise a argument relating to sentencing on remand,â€ during the 13 years Garland had then spent on the DC Circuit.
To be clear, Garland’s record does not suggest that he would join the Court’s right flank if confirmed to the Supreme Court. He would likely vote much more often than not with the Supreme Court’s liberals, while occasionally casting a heterodox vote. Nevertheless, as Goldstein wrote in 2010 when Garland was under consideration to replace the retiring liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, “to the extent that the President’s goal is to select a nominee who will articulate a broad progressive vision for the law, Judge Garland would be a very unlikely candidate to take up that role.”
There are some on the left who are expressing disappointment that President Obama didnâ€™t chose a nominee with a more progressive legal record. But those folks donâ€™t understand this Presidentâ€™s commitment toÂ pragmatism as a strategy. For those who prefer battle analogies, he prefers to defend the high ground.
Yeah, the high ground and $5 will get you a 20 pierce Chick McNuggets, I understand. I don’t want the high ground; I want another Ruther Bader Ginsburg. Now now now!
If the Republicans ain’t gonna hold hearings anyway, what’s the point of trying to appease them? Paul Waldman and Charles Pierce both think this is a smart political move, and maybe it is, but I don’t like it.