We are heading toward a completely unnecessary fight over Justice Scalia’s replacement. The right doesn’t want a liberal president to nominate a successor, filling a conservative seat with what they assume will be a far left justice.
The left doesn’t want to risk someone like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz getting the chance to nominate someone even more conservative than Scalia, if that is possible.
In fact, the best time for real America – those of us in the reasonable middle – is for President Obama to make a choice right now. Because he has zero chance of getting a leftist justice through an obstructionist congress, and because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said there will be no vote until after the election, he has to nominate a moderate justice.
There are two reasons this will happen:
1. It’s the right thing to do. Enough with the extreme candidates. Let’s let the moderate adults take control for awhile. You don’t like his nominee, don’t vote for him or her. But let’s not act as though you are waiting to see what American voters want to do.
American voters put the man in the White House. Twice. The voters have spoken. Twice. It’s not like this is three days before the election.
2. Obama wants McConnell to look bad. Remember, after his historic win in 2008, it was McConnell who made it his mission to obstruct Obama at every turn. More than anyone else, it was McConnell who denied Obama his chance at changing the tone in Washington, as unlikely as that was going to be, anyway.
Obama is consitutionally obligated to nominate a justice to fill the seat. So there is no political risk for him or the Democrats in the Senate to nominate and fight for someone. He is simply doing his job.
Should Obama nominate a moderate judge, say, one that already has been unanimously approved by the Republican-controlled Senate for a lower court, it puts McConnell in a tough spot. The American voters, I suspect, will turn on the GOP candidate in a general election for paralyzing the Supreme Court for more than a year.
Obama would love nothing more than to drub his arch nemesis over the head with this issue for his last 11 months in office, potentially locking down the next 4 or more years for his former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to take up residence again at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Is there any better parting shot for Obama than to hand the White House keys back to Bill Clinton as Mitch McConnel looks on helplessly?
Is there any better time to let a moderate have a voice, and maybe save us all from this madness?