I generally agree with Ross Douthat’s observations in this interview, but I disagree when he says that Trump is more likely to get judicial appointments right because it isn’t an issue that he cares about. I think that is probably right about the lower courts but wrong about the Supreme Court.
Douthat compares nominating Supreme Court justices to picking a vice-presidential running mate. The difference is that Trump needed a running mate that was acceptable to the Republican regulars. Trump would need to get a Supreme Court nomination through a Senate that is likely to be closely divided.
Jan Crawford Greenburg pointed out that the partisan and ideological politics of Supreme Court nominations are asymmetrical. The dynamics of the Washington and media elites are such that it is much more difficult for Republicans to get a conservative nominee approved, while is assumed that Democrats will nominate (and get) only liberal nominees.
That doesn’t mean that Republicans are doomed to lose. It does mean that winning involves winning the public discussion about the role of the Supreme Court, winning the battle of public perceptions about the character and qualifications of the nominee, and having a credible threat to nuke the filibuster if the Democrats are too recalcitrant.Read the rest of Peter Spiliakos's op-ed HERE.
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