No doubt President Obama made a compromise when he nominated Washington D.C. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court last Wednesday.
After all, Garland isn’t exactly the shining star most of the nation’s liberals were hoping for.
While he may be in favor of overturning Heller v. District of Columbia, which upheld that the Second Amendment protects the right of private citizens to bear arms.
Most political analysts are confident he’ll move the court more to the left, Garland still has a record of conservative ideology.
He ruled against Guantanamo Bay detainees by forbidding them from having their cases heard in the United States court system.
In at least 10 cases concerning criminal justice, Garland has disagreed with his liberal colleagues.
In 2010, he ruled in favor of extending the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United by allowing corporations to make unlimited donations from their general treasuries to independent political groups.
To his credit, Garland has sided with the Environmental Protection Agency, ruling to protect endangered species, and has protected the rights of workers.
However, Garland’s record hasn’t given us concrete examples of his positions on social issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights and the LGBT community.
Presiding as one of nine judges on the highest court in the U.S., which rules on these issues frequently, would make his relatively unknown position on these issues an enormous factor in the future of our nation.
It seems we’ll have to trust Obama has chosen wisely and nominated a judge with liberal social tendencies.
Only the Senate, though, will tell us if abandoning radically progressive principles was a mistake or a brilliant political move by the president.
And so far, it’s leaning toward mistake.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Garland shortly after being nominated the Senate would not consider him as a nominee.
The Republicans in the Senate stuck by their promise to refuse to consider any nominee put forth by the president, despite the media billing Garland as a centrist and a moderate.
At present, the president’s compromise strategy isn’t changing the Senate’s mind, but that could change when the Republicans realize Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is going to become the next president.
Either of them will nominate someone with radically progressive principles and probably a young woman in an effort to lessen the gender inequality on the Court.
We expect between the general election in November and the inauguration in January, during what’s called the lame-duck period, the Senate will rush to confirm Garland.
If a Republican wins, the Senate will certainly wait to confirm a nominee from one of their own.
Had the President been able to nominate someone unilaterally, he probably wouldn’t have chosen Garland.
Nominating a 63-year-old centrist doesn’t quite fit the standard Obama established by nominating Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
This was clearly a nomination done to appease the petulant children in the Senate.
But so far, it hasn’t worked.
And if the Senate maintains their position for the next eight months, Obama’s Supreme Court legacy will be decided by who comes out on top in November.