Obama's Strategic SCOTUS Pick: Your Move, Republicans - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Obama's Strategic SCOTUS Pick: Your Move, Republicans

Obama's Strategic SCOTUS Pick: Your Move, Republicans

By Tracy Moran & Nick Fouriezos

President Obama walks towards the Rose Garden with his nominee for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.
SourceJoshua Roberts/Bloomberg/Getty


Because writing them off would be premature.

By Tracy Moran & Nick Fouriezos

Merrick Garland, it’s time to channel your inner Justin Bieber … because “nothing is impossible.” And this is your chance, thanks to Obama ignoring Republican warnings not to even try. OZY looks at why this SCOTUS nominee and the 2016 wannabes should believe they “can do anything.”

Your Move, Republicans

President Obama has chosen Merrick Garland as his SCOTUS nominee, a Bill Clinton-era federal appeals court judge, to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. His name’s been in the running before, and he was the “most natural candidate” on the short list, says American University law professor Herman Schwartz. Garland’s reputed to be a moderate who’s well-respected by both sides of the aisle. But his age — 63 — and the fact that he’s another appellate judge from the East Coast and a graduate of an Ivy League school could work against him.

Calculations over credentials are just “gloss,” though, says legal expert Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution. Republicans, despite all the rhetoric, are really making a political calculation. They need to be aware that Democrats are unlikely to be amenable to anyone a Republican president chooses next year if they play hardball with a respected moderate now. They also have to decide, Wheeler says, whether to accept what Obama gives them — in this case a moderate — or risk a take two of the Clinton years and face whomever Hillary’s “gonna force down their throat.” 

Winning Back the Other Democratic Party Faithful

That, of course, assumes she gets there. To maintain her stranglehold on the nomination, Clinton needs to round up her party’s black sheep — those who’ve been feeling the Bern — and get them back in the pen. But convincing these socialist-loving liberals won’t be easy. “The Democratic Party has become so conservative,” says Jenny De Sensi, a Bernie-ite from Miami. Still, the pantsuit progressive may hold a trump card to party unity: The notion of Donald Trump as president could create a Democratic firestorm. But the Donald himself could also restore GOP unity by tapping a veep candidate with street cred among the establishment: Chris Christie, Nikki Haley and John Kasich, keep your phones close at hand.

A Sanders or Kasich Wildcard?

Mathematically, the Ohio governor would need over 100 percent of the remaining delegates to get the Republican nod. Sanders, according to Vox, has to win by at least 16 points in all of the remaining states to have a fighting chance. But if this election has taught us anything, it’s to never say never. Kasich can cross his fingers for a brokered convention … and hope history doesn’t repeat itself. Meanwhile, Sanders could see others join him to rage against the machine if, say, Clinton suddenly got slammed by scandal or, in light of her former staffer being granted immunity, finger wagging by the Justice Department.

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