MERRICK GARLAND NOMINATION: Public debate over the long-stalled nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court has been “reignited” after comments by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who said that if Hillary Clinton wins the White House on Nov. 8, Republicans should proceed with hearings in the lame-duck session, according to The Washington Post.
In addition, “the new Supreme Court calendar suggests that the remaining eight justices are altering their workload in case they have a new colleague on the bench in January,” the Post said. CNN’s Joan Biskupic, meanwhile, offered an analysis that Clinton, if elected, ultimately might stick with President Obama’s nomination of Garland, which the Republican-led Senate has so far refused to consider.
Biskupic also listed other potential Clinton nominees, including the following: “Sri Srinivasan, an Indian-American who is also on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals; Paul Watford, an African-American on the California-based US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; and Ketanji Brown Jackson, a trial judge on the federal district court in Washington, DC. She would be the first African-American woman justice, as would be California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, another name raised as a possibility based on her background and credentials.” The Associated Press carried these related articles: “Why It Matters: Supreme Court”; and “Short-handed Supreme Court delays action in 3 cases.”
COMMENTARY ON JUSTICE THOMAS: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was beginning his second quarter-century on the court this week. A Washington Post commentary by Mark Paoletta was headlined, “Why doesn’t Clarence Thomas get his due? He’s a black man who challenged liberal orthodoxy.” At USA Today, Richard Wolf reported that with Justice Antonin Scalia deceased, if next month’s election brings about a liberal majority, then “That could make Thomas — a happy legal warrior among friends and allies, yet to the public an enigmatic loner — less powerful but more influential for the remainder of his career.”