August 26, 2016 by celinagut
Could Mitch McConnell’s final chance to distance himself from the Orange Cheato running for president lie in a vote appointing Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court? He and other Repugnicans who have blocked the President from doing his job in that arena may be able to show the world they have some brains and muscle to unplug from the sinking Drumpf ship before November.
Mitch McConnell’s Supreme Court Dilemna
By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann, August 9, 2016, NBC News
With yet another poll showing Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump by double digits — this time from NBC|SurveyMonkey — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has an important choice to make. Does he continue to block President Obama’s pick to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, Merrick Garland, and risk the possibility that a President Hillary Clinton could nominate someone much more liberal (and younger) instead? Or does he relent on the Garland blockade, realizing that it might be the best outcome for Senate Republicans — simply to turn the conversation away from Trump?
McConnell’s office tells us that he remains firm in his opposition to the Garland pick. “The Leader has been clear: The next president will make the nomination for this vacancy,” says Deputy Chief of Staff Don Stewart. But Democrats are making a separate argument: If Republicans are looking for any way to separate themselves from Trump, moving on Garland would do the trick. “Congress is likely to be in session for a grand total of 20 days between now and the election, and it’s clear that confirming Garland a vote is the only concrete, news-driving step that Republicans can take to separate themselves from Trump,” a top Democratic Senate official says.
Kaine doesn’t close the door on possibility that Clinton could make a different SCOTUS pick
And it’s worth pointing out that Clinton running mate Tim Kaine didn’t 100% close the door on the possibility that Clinton might make her own Supreme Court pick if Republicans continue to block Garland. Here’s what Kaine said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday:
CHUCK TODD: Do you believe that Merrick Garland’s nomination should be taken up during the lame duck, regardless of whether you guys win or lose?
TODD: So if Secretary Clinton wins—
KAINE: He is—
TODD: —he should be taken up as the nominee?
KAINE: This will be for the president and the president-elect to decide. But look, if it comes up for a vote in the Senate, Merrick Garland gets so far over the hurdle of the fitness and character test that is supposed to be the legitimate question for nominees, of course I’d vote for him.
TODD: So it’s not 100 percent, though, that his nomination stays if your ticket wins?
KAINE: You know, I think the Dems may well take the Senate. In fact, I think we’re going to. But it will be the Republican majority that will be running the floor until the next Senate comes in place. I have no idea whether they will allow the nomination to be taken up. They pledged that they won’t. But if it does, I’m going to vote for him.