There has been an insufferable amount of media framing of Mitch McConnell’s disgraceful treatment of Merrick Garland as a “gamble” that “paid off.” (I’ll let you Google that yourself.) And yesterday we got a good look at the payoff. A disgraceful, bloody partisan divide that had one side trying to short-shrift the facts and ramrod a temperamentally unfit nominee onto the Supreme Court.
You can start the clock on the partisan divide over the Supreme Court anywhere you like, and construct the narrative any way you please. Yes, both sides tend to nominate people sympathetic to their political agenda, and then lean on the process to get what they want. There is a crucial difference, however. Republicans have not been denied seating justices. Robert Bork was not confirmed, but President George H.W. Bush then nominated David Souter, who was confirmed easily in a 90-9 Senate vote.
But wherever you start the clock, it is now the present. And at present we have a president far outside of the mainstream, who is nominating jurists far to one side of the mainstream, being jammed onto the court by a Republican-controlled Senate that overrepresents conservatives by a significant degree. This is on top of their outright refusal to consider an Obama nominee. This is the heart of the current problem. Republicans are willing to overlook any fact or political reality to move the court outside the mainstream of what American voters want. And this comes not long after their explicit declarations that they wanted to follow the wishes of American voters.
And so here we are, forced to watch Brett Kavanaugh, sporting the very tortured face and wounded tone of aggrieved entitlement, making his confirmation hearings not about a patient search for facts, even brutally uncomfortable ones, but instead about a partisan showdown of which he has now made it quite explicit what side he is on.
Tell me again how this is better for America than a Justice Merrick Garland.