With President Obama’s first pick for a Supreme Court justice looming, I am sitting here wondering if the GOP will try to block his pick.
There is an interesting timing here. On the same week Arlen Specter switched parties, Souter announces his retirement. Specter was the ranking member of the judiciary committee and the friendliest Republican towards Democrats. Now the Republicans can reorganize the committee a little bit and maybe filibuster an Obama pick at the committee level.
But how would this work out?
We have a President who has an approval rating in the upper 60s and a likeable rating over 80%. We are still on the heels of a historic election where the American people undeniably sounded the alarm for change. And then we have the Republicans, with their dismal approval ratings, who has been resoundingly the party of “no”.
This pick will play out into the summer – that’s a given. Everyday it plays out will put us a little bit closer to the next primary and mid-term election. Considering the power of liberal interest groups like MoveOn, if President Obama makes a choice that appeases our side and the GOP tries every move to block them, we can use this strong arsenal to fire back at the Republicans, putting them on the defense even more. This can even have an effect on House races, even though they have no part in the selection process.
Another thing we have on our side is plenty of footage of the Republicans throwing tantrums over the “up or down vote”. Remember the whole “nuclear option” thing when Alito was nominated? Republicans threatened to get rid of the filibuster if Democrats used it against a Bush pick. I don’t believe that should be done, but it would be a great tool to have on the table to fight back against the Grand Obstructionist Party.
President Obama has popularity and approval on his side. The Democrats have much more popularity and approval than their counterparts on their side. President Obama should use this capital to make a strong liberal pick. Let the Republicans try to block them and then we are given extra rounds of ammo to use against them in the upcoming mid-terms. If anything it will give us some summer entertainment.