Sen. Collins (R-ME) after Garland mtg "the next step in my view should be public hearings before Judiciary Comt." pic.twitter.com/cVxTvO7j5D
— Luke Russert (@LukeRussert) April 5, 2016
Not snark, for once — there seems to be a grinding shift in the Conventional Wisdom (note source of above tweet). Senator Collins’ bold centrism might be connected to a report in The Hill:
Reid plots strategy to force vote on Obama nominee
Senate Democrats say they may try to force a vote on President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court with an unusual procedural tactic.
“There are many procedural things we can do,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) said Tuesday when asked about the possibility of using a discharge resolution to bypass Republicans…
He and his Democratic colleagues want to keep the pressure on Republicans to hold hearings on the nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, believing they have the upper hand in the public relations battle.
“The obligation is for them to hold hearings and to have a vote. That’s in the Constitution,” Reid said. “Right now, we think we’re in a good place. The pressure’s on them, not on us.”…
Reid added that Grassley now has a more competitive reelection race. Democrats have recruited former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, the toughest opponent he has faced in years.
“No one thought he would have a race,” he added. “This is a real drag on the Republicans.”
Reid noted that more than a dozen Senate Republicans have agreed to meet with Garland, although most have made clear they will do so only as a courtesy.
In addition to Kirk and Collins, at least 15 other Republicans have voiced willingness to meet. They are Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), John Boozman (Ark.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Grassley, Orrin Hatch (Utah), James Inhofe (Okla.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), James Lankford (Okla.), Moran, Murkowski, Rob Portman (Ohio), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Pat Toomey (Pa.)…
Senator Grassley has responded to this pressure with his usual gracious elan, per Politico:
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee criticized John Roberts on the Senate floor Tuesday, accusing the chief justice of contributing to the growing politicization of the Supreme Court.
In a speech about 10 days before Justice Antonin Scalia died, Roberts warned that the trend of approving qualified Supreme Court nominees along party-line Senate votes undermines the legitimacy of the court. “The process is not functioning very well,” Roberts said.
“In fact, many of my constituents believe, with all due respect, that the chief justice is part of the problem,” Grassley said of Roberts, who has at times incensed conservatives with his votes to uphold Obamacare and other rulings. “They believe that [a] number of his votes have reflected political considerations, not legal ones.”…
The Iowa Republican went on to warn Roberts not to inject himself into the Senate showdown over whether Garland should be confirmed this year, which Republicans have vowed will not happen. Grassley said Roberts has been encouraged by some academics to urge the Senate to take up Garland’s nomination…
Responding to the speech, a spokesman for Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called Grassley “unglued” and said his remarks represent “an epic display of buck-passing.”
Double dog dare ya, Chuck! Also, there’s this note from the Washington Post…
… Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who endorsed Trump after abandoning his own presidential bid, said that he spoke with Trump by phone on Tuesday about a list of 10 to 12 judges from whom the billionaire might fill vacancies on the Supreme Court.
Trump plans to release the names in the coming weeks as a sign of his seriousness and a validation of his claims to being a conservative, Carson said….
Serious as a heart attack, and validating our Democratic claim that the GOP is being held hostage by a vulgar short-fingered carnival barker…
Apart from our healthful daily helping of schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the day?