Texas Senator Ted Cruz left the presidential race last night and Ohio Governor John Kasich made his exit today, leaving Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee. This pits him against likely Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in November.
As a result of the current situation, rumblings of how Republicans and conservatives should handle the Supreme Court, specifically the vacancy left by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, are getting louder. Many are suggesting Senate Republicans should take up Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland after all, despite months of declaring the vacancy should be filled by the next president.
I strongly believe the Senate should move forward on Garland at this point. #SCOTUS— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) May 4, 2016
If I were a GOP senator, I would think Merrick Garland looks pretty good right now. Take what's in front of you and not behind door #2.— Julie Roginsky (@julieroginsky) May 4, 2016
By many accounts Garland is a moderate, not a radical, and with the even greater potential of a Hillary Clinton presidency looming (currently, Trump loses to her across the board by a wide margin) conservatives may not want to hand over an additional Supreme Court pick to Clinton. RedState makes the argument:
Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, this is not even a close call. There is absolutely no reason to drag this out any longer. Garland is not a great choice, but he is not a terrible one, either. And more than anything, he is old (for a modern Supreme Court appointment) and will be up for replacement in probably 10 years instead of 20 or 30.
Republicans must know that there is absolutely no chance that we will win the White House in 2016 now. 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.
In fact, if I were the Republicans, my main concern right now would be that Barack Obama would withdraw Garland’s nomination today. The fact that Merrick Garland still exists as an option right now is a gift that should not be squandered.
The calculus has changed – confirm Merrick Garland before it is too late.
Supreme Court nominations are for life, presidencies are temporary.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is continuing his no-holds-barred blockade of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, despite the risk that he may get a less palatable choice from presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, a spokesman for McConnell confirmed Wednesday.
A number of Republicans met with Garland and urged the Judiciary Committee to hold hearings before Trump became the presumptive nominee Tuesday. Pressure will surely increase as the race for the White House moves forward. No word yet from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley yet on whether he will stand his ground against hearings and a conformation.
UPDATE II: Conservative groups aren't backing down in their opposition to Garland, either. Judicial Crisis Network is launching a $500,000 ad buy in Colorado, West Virginia, North Dakota, Iowa and New Hampshire.