A confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland is still far from a sure thing (Mark Kirk’s comments aside) and there still may not be a vote regarding his nomination to the Supreme Court until after the next election. But he may have one friend in an unexpected place no matter how the presidential race shakes out… John Kasich. Apparently unaware of Garland’s record of open hostility to the Second Amendment, the Ohio Governor went on Face the Nation this week and not only criticized his party’s stall tactics regarding the next SCOTUS justice, but admitted that Garland had such overwhelming support that he’d give him a look as a potential nominee himself.
Let’s go to the video from Face the Nation.
When their network teased the interview they seemed to downplay that portion of the conversation a bit.
Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich gently criticized Senate Republicans’ approach to President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, suggesting lawmakers should at least meet with the nominee, and even saying he’d consider nominating Garland himself, as president.
“I never thought the president should send it because I knew nothing was going to happen,” Kasich told “Face the Nation” in an interview taped for Sunday’s broadcast.
Since that CBS excerpt doesn’t really do it justice, let’s hit the transcript of what Kasich actually said:
Q: As someone who’s talked about unity, would you take a look at Mr. Garland if you were elected president?
A: Well, he received, you know, overwhelming support. I think even from Senator Hatch, so of course we’d think about it. The way we’d do it, John, is we look at a person’s record. I want a conservative who’s not going to make the law, but interpret the law. And somebody of high standing. I don’t care about their peccadilloes from thirty years ago.
I’m sorry… did you just say peccadilloes from thirty years ago? Returning to that question of Second Amendment rights, Yahoo Finance has a short review of one of Garland’s more infamous moments on the bench and it was most certainly not decades and decades in the past.
Garland, the chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, wanted the entire appeals court to reconsider a decision that had invalidated a handgun ban in Washington, DC.
In doing so, Garland called for an “en banc” review of the DC Circuit’s 2007 ruling that invalidated the handgun ban in Parker v. District of Columbia.
The ruling was made by a three-judge panel that Garland was not a part of.
As most of our regular readers already know, Parker was the genesis of the case later known has Heller v. District of Columbia and it eventually led to the rejection of DC’s odious blanket ban on handguns. Even after the three judge panel had ruled, Garland was still angling for a complete review in what appeared to be a push to support the ban.
What person who claims to want a conservative who’s not going to make the law but interpret it would consider inviting Garland over for a cup of coffee, say nothing of nominating him to replace Scalia? This is either a sign of significant weakness regarding gun rights on Kasich’s part or a demonstration of absolute clueless behavior. The party leadership in Congress may be far from perfect, but in a situation such as this it would be nice to see some uniformity of support from the remaining presidential candidates. (I’m looking at you too, Mr. Trump. Cruz seems to be on message with it thus far.)
Merrick Garland would be a disaster for conservatives for decades to come, assuming his health is good. But with that said, I will note one other feature of this discussion which I hope Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley keep in mind. No matter who our nominee is, if Hillary Clinton somehow manages to both stay out of jail and win the election this fall, the GOP leadership should be ready to hold a vote and confirm Garland before Christmas. The reasons for this are twofold. First, as bad as Garland may be, any name coming from Clinton at the beginning of her first term will be ten times worse. And second, it would be hilarious to see the Democrats under lame duck Harry Reid scrambling to scuttle a vote on Garland and thwart the nomination after spending the entire year screaming about how he deserved to be confirmed. The results for the nation in the long run would still be horrendous, but we’d at least get some amusement value out of it going into the holidays while we point out what hypocrites the Democrats are yet again.