So Barack Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, the Chief Justice Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Garland has been a judge on the DC Court of Appeals – which in legal circles is widely regarded as the most important court in the land after the Supreme Court – since 1997, and he was confirmed at the time after a long delay caused by the Republican obstructionism of Clinton’s judicial nominations.
Obama is clearly trying to box in the Senate, since just last week, Senator Orrin Hatch (the longest serving Republican on the Judiciary Committee) was quoted as saying that Obama “could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man.”
Of course, the Republicans are almost certain to stick to their guns and insist that they will not consider an Obama nomination in any way, and that the next President must nominate the next Justice. They’ve also let it be known that they might consider an Obama nomination after the November election, which makes no sense at all.
The ground game here is easy to discern: if Hillary gets elected, they’d rather be stuck with Merrick Garland than anybody that Hillary might nominate. (If Trump gets elected, who the fuck knows who he might nominate.) So it’s absolutely clear: for Republicans, this is now only about politics. Qualifications don’t matter at all. It’s only about politics and only about the hope of hopes that somebody replaces Scalia with another conservative.
When the Republican party implodes in the November election, it will be a fate so richly deserved.
 The DC Circuit is given the responsibility of directly reviewing the decisions and rulemaking of many federal independent agencies of the United States government based in the national capital.
 Garland was initially nominated by Bill Clinton, and after his nomination languished under the Republican-controlled Senate until after the 1996 election, he was renominated by Clinton on January 7, 1997. Following a 19-month Republican stall of his nomination in the Senate, Garland was confirmed in a 76-23 vote. All of the 23 “no” votes came from Republicans, and all were based on whether there was even a need for an eleventh seat on the D.C. Circuit, which is based on the completely spurious argument that D.C. Circuit did not need an additional judge at a cost to taxpayers of “$1 million a year.” If that were a serious reason, than the Republicans could have sought to reduce the number of the D.C. Circuit, to maintain the odd number required for one side to prevail.