Friday, November 11, 2016

Some thoughts on Merrick Garland

The Supreme Court Justice who wasn't. Merrick Garland is not a man I would have appointed to the Supreme Court. But he was light years better than what I expected from a President Clinton and at the time I thought rejecting his nomination was a political mistake. I was wrong.

That said, I feel rather badly for the man. Everything I have heard about him suggests he is basically a decent guy who was used as a pawn by the Obama Administration and got caught in the middle of a Washington power war. And while I am glad he is not sitting on the SCOTUS I will also admit that I do think he kinda got the shaft. The man was treated with what I believe could be called calculated rudeness by Republicans and I don't think he deserved that.

If I could presume to make a suggestion to a president-elect that I did not vote for, this is a great opportunity to score some points in the magnanimity department. No, I don't think Donald should renominate him to the top court. But there are lots of plum (and prestigious) jobs that are still purely political appointments and understood to be essentially the President's prerogative to give to whom he wants. Why not offer him the post as US Ambassador to the Czech Republic or Portugal or somewhere else (not Mongolia or some remote island state in the Pacific)? It doesn't have to be London or Paris but a post that is seen as a sincere expression of appreciation for the man's service and a tacit apology for his rough treatment over the last year.

Such a move would be certain to be seen as extending an olive branch while showing  Mr. Trump's better side.


Chris said...

No. Garland shouldn't be given squat. Remember what Barack Obama said after he was elected? He said, "he won." Trump needs to do the same. the country was just as divided back then as it is now. Trump should say the exact same thing--"I won." WHen Democrats win, they act like they win. WHen Republicans win, they try to help the losers get some sort of consolation trophy. Time for REpublicans to act just as cutthroat.

CJ said...

His current job is better than anything short of SCOTUS.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Chris, I have to disagree. First on moral grounds. When I find myself behaving like leftist Democrats then I know it's time to stop whatever I'm doing and reassess things. And secondly on purely political grounds. Yes, Obama did in fact say those things and it set the tone for his relations with Congress and the GOP for the rest of his presidency, which is to say awful.

One of the first things Ronald Reagan did when he took office was invite every single member of Congress to the White House for 10 minutes of private "face time" and a photo-op with the new POTUS. Then Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil called it a master stroke and lamented that Jimmy Carter rarely talked to any members of Congress below the leadership from either party. Which in turn was reflected in his crappy relationship with the Congress and his inability to get a lot of his proposals passed (thank God), despite his own party controlling both houses. Reagan on the other hand was able to cut some historic deals with Democrats. And yes that involved give as well as take.

However emotionally satisfying it may be to stick your finger in the eye of the losing party after an election, if history is any guide it is lousy politics.

Chris said...

I really don't care about the politics. I want Obama's "legacy" to be undone. If prosperity is the end result, then I don't care that he and the GOP were "nice" or "mean" about it.