Why Didn’t Trump Nominate Merrick Garland?

Brett KavanaughToday, I listened to a fair amount of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. I found it offensive.

There was a time when I thought that Supreme Court justices could be reasonably objective. But I was young and foolish. Also, neuroscience was not as advanced then. Now we know that people aren’t “objective.” Instead, like the Stephen Colbert character, we decide with our gut and then use our reasoning ability to justify it.

This is one of the reasons I find libertarians so annoying. They are, with almost no exceptions, privileged people who are either rich or assume they are going to be. And then, they cling on to libertarianism and come up with a lot of pseudo-intellectual nonsense to justify it. I’m thinking of you, Penn & Teller!

Brett Kavanaugh Is Above Ideology?!

But this morning was particularly hard to take. Democrats questioned Kavanaugh’s ideology. But one Republican after another claimed that Kavanaugh was not guided by ideology. Indeed, I even heard that he would just call balls and strikes — a reference to John Roberts who has been incredibly ideological. His “balls and strikes” claim is certainly an outright lie (or he is self-deluded).

If we are to believe Ted Cruz and Benjamin Sasse, Kavanaugh isn’t guided by ideology. No! He’s just following the law.

Why Didn’t Republicans Support Merrick Garland?

But if this is the case, why didn’t the Republicans allow Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland?

Certainly, to listen to Republicans now, there was nothing wrong with him. So what was the problem?

Obviously, the issue is that Republicans are completely ideological. They only approve of people for the courts who will reliably act as extreme right-wing ideologues.

Republicans Always Push the Limits of Hypocrisy

That’s their right. But I don’t think the rest of us have to pretend that they are honest when they claim that Brett Kavanaugh is not ideological.

The truth is that the situation could not be more unsymmetric. Look at the three people Obama nominated: Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Merrick Garland. All of them moderates — typical of Obama’s “if I’m a centrist, the Republicans will join me” failed logic.

But Republicans nominate extreme ideologues and then claim that they are above ideology.

If these judges were above ideology — or just not extremely conservative — they would never be nominated.

Will Democrats Wimp Out?

The only question now is whether the Democrats will fight fire with fire. When Washington is back in Democratic hands, it will be time to increase the size of the Supreme Court to 12. The Court needs to be larger anyway. And this is the only way that we will ever get a Supreme Court that isn’t bought and sold to the power elite.

Of course, Democrats will almost certainly not have the guts to do this. And if they did, the Republicans would just increase the seats on the Court to 500 as soon as they got in power.

This is why I think this nation is doomed. But what’s bad for us is doubtless good for the world.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

2 thoughts on “Why Didn’t Trump Nominate Merrick Garland?

  1. Good God! Flush this turd! There’s a gazillion other judges out there who will happily rule against Roe v. Wade, against worker rights, against civilians mistreated by police, all the things Republicans want. And at least some of them have no history of criminal assault. Shit, we’ve got four on the Court now who are reliably rubber-stamp right-wingers, and three have never been accused of anything illegal.

    What I think is going on here is the half-assed gaggle of soulless idiots in Trump’s White House realizing they fucked up, and did absolutely no due diligence on this guy beyond skim-reading his legal rulings.

    Because the Moron Brigade knows they blew this one badly, they’re panicking. “What if Democrats take the Senate in November?” Highly unlikely, and even if that happens, you’ve still got four months to confirm anybody you want. They’re telling Trump, “we can’t get a new guy and check him out in four months!” because they have no concept of how to do anything correctly.

    Shortlist a few names, hire a few decent private investigators, they’ll have all the goods (and bads) on those guys in a month, tops. This is not complicated stuff.

    But, you know, that’s what you get when upper management uses a “fear me!” style. Everybody halfway competent leaves, and you end up with ambitious psychotic numbskulls. Witness Enron, the 2008 collapse, many other examples.

    • Yeah. In the end, getting him in was more about pissing off liberals than anything else. I’ve come to see conservative politics as being pretty much entirely about that. The conservative elite has spent decades claiming that liberals are subhuman. So now it is enough just to beat the liberals. The way conservatives think about Muslims is the same as they think about liberals: they know nothing but hate us intensely.

      Of course, there is another reason Trump wanted him: he believes presidents are above the law. Having him on the Supreme Court may turn out to be all that saves Trump.

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