The war over Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court by President Obama is nowhere near over, though coverage might fade whenever Donald Trump holds a rally, which some have aptly noted is covered like the moon landings in the news media. Regardless, prior to the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, NBC’s Savannah Guthrie actually pressed White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on the Obama administration’s position that the Senate should do its job and consider the Garland nomination. She noted that then-Sen. Obama voted against the nomination of now Chief Justice John Roberts and was part of the filibuster of Associate Justice Samuel Alito (via NewsBusters):
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: When it comes to these judicial nominations, perhaps neither side has clean hands entirely. Back when Senator Obama was in office he voted against Justice Robert's nomination and Justice Alito’s nomination. So is this a case of what’s good for the goose is what’s good for the gander? How does he explain that now?
DENIS MCDONOUGH: Well, what’s interesting, Savannah, is in both of those cases not only did senators meet with and give a hearing to those candidates, but in fact, they voted on them. And that’s exactly the process that we’re asking for here.
GUTHRIE: But, Denis, President Obama voted to filibuster Justice Alito, which is another way of saying not bring him to the Senate floor for a full vote.
MCDONOUGH: Well, in fact, what they did have is a series of hearings and then they had a vote out of committee, then they had a debate on the Senate floor. That filibuster was stopped and he was voted on to the court. That's exactly the way –
GUTHRIE: So he doesn’t regret being part of that?
MCDONOUGH: That’s exactly the way the process should work, Savannah. That’s exactly what we hope will happen in this case. That’s exactly what the President called for yesterday. And we have a candidate here who has – is uniformly recognized, again, in the papers this morning and all day yesterday, somebody with unquestionable excellence and terrific experience.
MATT LAUER: Real, real, quickly if you can, Denis, does the President have one firm ally on the Republican side in the Senate that he feels will help him get this to a hearing and confirmation?
MCDONOUGH: Well, we feel really good about the first day of this out of the announcement yesterday. We heard many, more than a handful of Republicans now changing their position and being willing to meet with Judge Garland –
LAUER: But does the President have a real firm ally on the Republican side?
MCDONOUGH: Again, what I said is that yesterday we heard several, more than a handful of Republican senators agreeing to meet with him. We think that’s a good start. But this is not rocket science, here, Matt. All they need to do is do what the Constitution says, give him a hearing, give him a vote, and let's fill that vacancy.
GUTHRIE: Alright, chief of staff Denis McDonough, thanks for getting up early with us. We appreciate it.
LAUER: Thanks, Denis.
You have to give credit where credit is due–and Guthrie deserves some credit for pressing McDonough on the president’s past behavior with Bush nominees to the Supreme Court. Obama’s conduct in that regard, along with his fellow Democratic colleagues in the Senate, undercuts their position that the Senate has to act (they don’t) on the Garland nomination. It’s to the point where their counter-talking points are hilariously grounded in disregarding what they said years ago on judicial nominations during election years. That’s not how this works. There is a public record, we know what you said, and it appears to be positions that are diametrically opposed to the ones you are holding now, Senate Democrats. That’s called hypocrisy. Moreover, the Senate doesn’t “have to give” Garland a hearing or a vote. They simply don’t. That’s not in the Constitution. Is this political posturing? Yes. Has it always been this way on both sides dating back the days of the early Republic? Yes. But Republicans aren’t the ones who are throwing a tantrum, saying forget what I said in the past because it doesn’t help our narrative in this Supreme Court fight.
Also, while Guthrie did well, let us not forget her abhorrent question to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley after the tragic Charleston shooting last June, where she asked if this event means it’s time to rethink the Second Amendment.