Why Republicans Should Confirm Merrick Garland Now

The Republican party has essentially finished its nomination process, and the winner – whether they like it or not – is businessman Donald Trump. While some members of the GOP are hoping for a last minute miracle that will save them from a general election with Trump, most of the rest have lined up behind their new leader, like him or not.

But even those accepting the unavoidable recognize that there are some serious issues with their 2016 hopes now that Trump tops the ticket, and they are trying to figure out how to best mitigate the long term damages that could arise. Some are even suggesting that the GOP finally allow Merrick Garland to be confirmed.

From the moment that the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was announced back in February 2016 the GOP dug in their heels, declaring that no appointee should be seated until after the election was held the following November.

“The American people should have a say in our next justice,” party leaders declared, forgetting that the American public did say who they wanted on the court when they resoundingly reelected President Barack Obama to a second term. Senator Chuck Grassley has steadily refused to even meet with Obama’s eventual nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, and Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran even found himself under assault on the right for so much as suggesting that it’s only fair to at least have a hearing and vote over Garland’s appointment.

Now that Trump is the likely top of the presidential ticket, however, some Republicans are suggesting that confirming Garland might not be be such a bad idea after all. Noting that Garland is relatively conservative for a Democratic nominee, and far older than other possible nominees, which would give him less impact on the court overall, one writer at the conservative blog Red State argues that Senators should jump on the process as quickly as possible.

“Republicans must know that there is absolutely no chance that we will win the White House in 2016 now,” he writes. “They must also know that we are likely to lose the Senate as well. So the choices, essentially, are to confirm Garland and have another bite at the apple in a decade, or watch as President Clinton nominates someone who is radically more leftist and 10-15 years younger, and we are in no position to stop it.”

That the Senate is likely lost for the GOP, especially with Trump as their nominee, has become a sort of conventional wisdom among political pundits, who point out that not only are the seats in question likely to flip into Democratic control, but are in many cases going to be taken by Democratic women, creating the largest female pocket of power ever seen in Congress.

Candidates in these races know that it’s not just the misogyny and extremism of Trump that will be helping them flip the seats, but the optics of a GOP stubbornly and irrationally blocking Garland’s hearing and keeping the Supreme Court as an eight person body that is hurting the incumbents, too.

“For Democrats soured by Republican obstructionism during Obama’s eight years in office, the stakes couldn’t be higher,” reports Politico. ”‘Having the majority is critical. An example right now is what is happening to Merrick Garland,’ [Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth] Warren says. ‘The difference between majority and minority is being able to hold hearings and call votes.’”

The GOP should confirm Garland now because there is really no way for them to lose if they do. Confirming the judge offers them what it likely to be their only shot at controlling the nomination process, since any nominee offered by a Democratic president, especially with a Democratic majority in the Senate, is likely to be far, far more liberal.

It also may be their only hope in tight Senate races to take that issue off the table and protect themselves from being accused of unreasonable obstructionism. Confirming Garland will neutralize what could have been a major attack against GOP incumbents from their Democratic challengers.

Should the GOP confirm Garland? Without a doubt. Whether their far right interest groups will actually allow them to do so is a much, much bigger question.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Danuta W
Danuta W11 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Harry S N.
Past Member 3 years ago

Another ridiculous article by Robyn Marty. There Is NO justification for confirming Merrick Garland. Obama presented him as a moderate, but he is far from that. In his entire career on the bench, he has had one decision that could remotely be considered progressive. Virtually every other decision was considerably right of center - including his vocal approval of the corrupt Citizens United decision.
We need a liberal judge, not another right-wing crony that appeals to the corporatist lame-duck leader of the U.S. That is the only way to undo abusive political, rather than judicial, decisions such as Citizens United, McCutcheon, Hobby Lobby and many more.
Sorry, Robyn Marty. if I kept a score card, your articles would predominantly be on the losing side of the ledger. You should stop writing about things where you push other people's ideas because you have no real knowledge of the topics you choose.

ERIKA SOMLAI3 years ago


Dianne D.
Dianne D3 years ago

They can confirm Merrick now or let the Democrats do it when they take over the Senate and House in January.

Jenny Sejansky
Jenny Sejansky3 years ago

I love how many of you believe that if elected, Trump will do as he pleases. HA! Have you learned NOTHING over the past eight years? You who support him so strongly now will be the ones screaming, "IMPEACH" while brandishing torches and pitch forks on the WH lawn. Get real, people! Paul B-to which "liar in chief" do you refer? Cheney or Bush???

Peggy B.
Peggy B3 years ago

By refusing to even consider him is NOT doing what the taxpayers are paying them for and they should have their pay docked.

Paul B.
Paul B3 years ago

Donald has a great chance of winning. Hillary is not that popular in her own party and exit polling shows that most of Bernie supporters will vote for Trump, or not at all, INSTEAD of her. This race is FAR from over. In fact, it seems to be trending AGAINST her majesty Hillary. We don't need another Liar in Chief.

Past Member 3 years ago

While I agree that the Senate should do their damn job and hold hearings and/or an up/down vote on Garland, I do not think they should automatically confirm him. They need to confirm someone, yes; just not necessarily him.

Sherry Kohn
Sherry Kohn3 years ago