So Jeff Flake has chosen to go to war with Donald Trump, something which has brought him much grief, and now he;s taking on the rest of the GOP, even the anti-Trump factions. One of the things all Republicans agree with is that Obama’s SCOTUS nominees should be held up until a new president is sworn in, but Flake wants to confirm Merrick Garland during the lame duck session.
His reasoning is two fold. On one hand he believes it would be an “abdication” of the Senate’s duties and responsibilities. Secondly, he feels if Hillary should win the election, she may nominate a much more liberal juror to the seat. The Senator told Politico:
There’s a difference between what might be constitutional and what you could do politically and what you should do. And I think leaving a vacancy for up to four years is not why we’re here.
I would not block cloture on Merrick Garland. In fact if Hillary Clinton wins the election, I will be actively trying to round up votes to have hearings for him in a lame duck session. I’m not pretending he’s a conservative or somebody we’d put up if we were in the White House, but I do think he’s more conservative than somebody that Hillary Clinton might nominate, particularly if she has a Democratic Senate.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz believes this to be a bad idea. He believes Republicans should actually block all nominees coming from a liberal president:
There is long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices. Just recently Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job…For those of us who care passionately about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, who care about free speech and religious liberty and the Second Amendment, the best way to protect those rights is to win on Election Day so that we see strong conservatives nominated to the court, and maintain a Republican majority in the Senate to confirm those strong conservatives.
With primary challenger Kelli Ward already starting to campaign against senator Flake, you can be sure she’ll use this as red meat for the Republican base.