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November 10, 2016

MERRICK GARLAND DIES ON BASE: Now It’s Trump Who Can Recast the Supreme Court: Election results end hopes for Obama’s long-languishing pick Merrick Garland.

Senate Republicans held a Supreme Court seat vacant for the next president. Now that it’s President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican majority in the Senate, what happens next?

The election results end the hopes for President Barack Obama’s long-languishing pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, since Republicans still control the Senate’s confirmation process. Donald Trump released a list of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees who were generally met with approval by conservative lawmakers, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will continue to hold the high court seat vacant for a Trump pick.

At stake is the ideological balance of the Supreme Court for decades.

A Trump win eliminates the potential for the first liberal majority since 1970. In addition to the current vacancy, three justices are older than 78 and could leave the court during the Trump administration — meaning Trump would be able to recast the Supreme Court for a generation with his choices.

Trump said repeatedly in stump speeches that preventing liberal justices from being appointed to the court was a reason conservatives should vote for him, particularly on gun rights.

“They’ll respect the Second Amendment and what it stands for, what it represents,” Trump said during a debate.

That sets up a major confirmation fight for more than just Trump’s choice to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, the reliably conservative justice who died Feb. 13. That pick would likely come early in 2017. Democrats are unlikely to forget the GOP’s historic stonewalling of the Garland nomination for what would be nearly 300 days — and are equally unlikely to help confirm a nominee they fear could undo court rulings on key issues such as abortion rights.

Two thoughts: (1) I’ll bet Harry Reid regrets announcing that he was going to go nuclear on Supreme Court nominations once Hillary was President and Dems controlled the Senate; and (2) Would Democrats really try to block America’s first openly gay Supreme Court nominee?

Related: Scott Walker: It’s Time To Kill The Filibuster. “The last time Republicans had total control of government, under Bush, they squandered it. . . . Reid blazed and re-blazed this trail, and there’s every reason to think his lefty disciples will follow his advice and get rid of the filibuster themselves once they have a chance down the road to do so. Why should the GOP protect the Democrats’ minority leverage now when there’s every reason to think Dems won’t repay the kindness in 2020 or whenever they’re back in the majority? That’s where the prudential argument breaks down. It’s worth thinking hard about saving the filibuster if you can count on the other party to save it too. When you can’t, and the GOP can’t thanks to Reid, why not take advantage of your political strength and do away with it now yourself?”