Liberal activists have condemned reports that Barack Obama is considering a Republican politician to fill the contentious vacancy on the supreme court, saying such a move would be "downright absurd."Oy. I can't believe that Obama would seriously opt to take this route. I hope it's not even a trial balloon, but a piece of misdirection to throw the GOP off balance and/or merely give the appearance that Obama is considering a broad range of candidates.
Brian Sandoval, the governor of Nevada and a former district court judge, is being vetted by the White House as a potential nominee to succeed the late Antonin Scalia, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
Naming Sandoval could be seen as a canny manoeuvre to call the bluff of Republicans who have vowed to neither confirm nor even hold hearings for Obama's nominee, contending that the decision should rest with the next president.
But Democracy for America, a grassroots political organisation founded by prominent Democrat Howard Dean, said Sandoval's rightwing record might oblige it to call on Senate Democrats to block his appointment.
Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, said: "It's downright absurd that President Obama would risk his legacy by appointing another anti-labour Republican like Governor Brian Sandoval to an already overwhelmingly pro-big business supreme court. Nominating Sandoval to the supreme court would not only prevent grassroots organisations like Democracy for America from supporting the president in this nomination fight, it could lead us to actively encouraging Senate Democrats to oppose his appointment."
Chamberlain added: "The American people re-elected President Obama because we wanted a leader who would ensure our courts are filled with judges who understand that our constitution is rooted in progressive values that clearly protect things like abortion rights and sit at odds with rulings like Citizens United, not country club Republicans like Brian Sandoval."
Because, at this point, selecting a nominee who the Democrats might have to oppose would just be a fucking circus. And surely the President knows by now that appeasing Republican obstructionism never has a good outcome for progressives. Or decency.
In the waning months of his presidency, Obama's mantra should be: Go big and go home.