Published on March 16, 2016
1. THE SUPREME COURT NOMINATION OF JUDGE MERRICK B. GARLAND & AND ITS IMPLICATIONS Joshua Baca and Lena Koncha, DDC Public Affairs
2. DDC | 2 • Clinton appointee on the D.C. Circuit who has long been discussed as a potential Supreme Court nominee • Considered a moderate • The last time a seat opened up on the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2010, he was widely considered a top candidate for the job and interviewed with President Barack Obama • On environmental law, Judge Garland has in a number of cases favored contested EPA regulations and actions when challenged by industry, and in other cases he has accepted challenges brought by environmental groups. [SCOTUS Blog] Judge Merrick B. Garland is President Obama’s Choice for the Supreme Court
3. DDC | 3 • Within an hour of the news, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell came out saying the Senate should not confirm a replacement for Scalia until after the 2016 election. • With a vacancy on the Court, the responsibility to fill it falls on President Obama and the Senate; pursuant to Article II, section 2 of the Constitution, the president nominates justices of the Supreme Court, and the Senate confirms them with a majority vote. • If Justice Scalia is replaced with a liberal, that would tilt the Supreme Court to a 5-4 liberal majority. • It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Scalia Vacancy, Merrick Nomination & What it Means February 13, 2016 Justice Antonin Scalia passed away.
4. DDC | 4 Historical Precedent Since 1900, the Senate has voted on eight Supreme Court nominees during an election year and 6 were confirmed. • Several of those were for seats that had become vacant in the previous non-election year. • The Senate has never taken more than 125 days to vote on a successor from the time of nomination. • On average, a nominee has been confirmed, rejected or withdrawn within 25 days. • When Justice Antonin Scalia died, 342 days remained in President Obama’s term [New York Times]
5. DDC | 5 Both Sides Ready for SCOTUS Battle 1 http://go.politicoemail.com/?qs=4dfa9302b1e360755dfd2c851df888f405401ac24c4c7199aecd449e03a88fdd 2 http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rnc-launches-effort-to-block-obama-scotus-nominee/ • White House and its allies will unleash a coordinated media and political blitz aimed at weakening GOP resistance to confirming the president's pick. • Administration allies have already started putting a ground game in place. Obama campaign veterans have been contracted in six states - New Hampshire, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where GOP incumbents are most vulnerable, plus Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley's Iowa. [3/13/2016, Politico Pro1] • The RNC is launching a campaign to try to derail President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, teaming up with a conservative opposition research group to target vulnerable Democrats and impugn whomever Obama picks. • The RNC will contract with America Rising Squared, an outside group targeting Democrats that's run by a longtime aide to GOP Sen. John McCain. GOP chairman Reince Priebus said it would be the most comprehensive judicial response effort in the party's history. [3/14/2016, CBS News2] DDC | 5
6. DDC | 6 Many cases are now facing an eight-member split. If the court ties, the decision of the appeals court remains in place, without setting a nationwide precedent. Key Cases Facing the Court • Clean Power Plan: Scalia presumably was among the five justices voting to suspend the Obama administration’s sweeping plan to reduce CO2 emissions from the nation’s electrical grid. • Immigration: The Supreme Court is also considering whether President Obama exceeded his powers in trying to shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation. • Public-sector unions: Conservatives teed up the dream case with Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Assoc., which promised to overturn a 1977 decision, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, that allows laws requiring government workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment. • Class actions: The Roberts court has steadily rolled back the excesses of the class-action bar, issuing rulings that enforce contract terms requiring individual arbitration and requiring plaintiff lawyers to state their claims with precision. • Affirmative action: The Supreme Court in July agreed to consider again whether race-conscious college admission plans are constitutional. • Obamacare: Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell is yet another challenge to the Obama administration’s rule requiring religious employers to provide contraceptive care in their insurance benefits. • Abortion: The conservative majority was poised to expand the concept of “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion to include regulations on providers in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellersted.
7. DDC | 7 Battle for Senate Control Republican 54-seat majority is in serious danger in 2016 Democrats have fewer risky seats to defend. Mainly Colorado and Nevada, which have leaned Democratic in recent years* *Politico Republicans are already fighting to defend seats in six states Obama carried twice: Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin
8. DDC | 8 The Implications for the Nation of a Changing Supreme Court Regardless of what happens with Justice Scalia’s replacement, there will be likely at least three other Justices to be appointed over the next 4-8 years of the next President’s term – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be nearly 84 – Justice Anthony Kennedy will be over 80 – Justice Stephen Breyer will be 78 Stakes are extremely high for not only for Scalia’s replacement, but the implications on Senates races and the direction of the country’s ideological leanings should a Democrat get elected to the Presidency.
9. THANK YOU Joshua Baca, DDC Public Affairs
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