24 February 2016

The Official Hat of Team Obama

A Spelunking Helmet for Frequent Cavers
There are reports taht Barack Obama is considering Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval as a Supreme Court appointment:
The White House is considering picking the Republican governor from Nevada to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court, scrambling political calculations in what is expected to be a contentious confirmation battle in which Senate Republicans have pledged to play the role of roadblock.

President Obama is weighing the selection of Brian Sandoval, a centrist former federal judge who has served as governor since 2011, according to two people familiar with the process. Though the review process is in its initial phases and it is unclear whether the governor could ultimately emerge as the president’s pick, even the prospect of his nomination poses a difficult dilemma for Senate Republicans who have promised not to consider any nomination before November’s elections.
Here's the kicker though, it turns out that Sandoval has explicitely called Obamacare unconstitutional:
The Washington Post reports that the White House is vetting Brian Sandoval, the Republican governor of Nevada who once labeled President Obama’s signature health law “unconstitutional,” as a possible nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Sandoval previously served as a federal district judge, the lowest rank of judges who receive lifetime appointments, for just under four years. He resigned to run for governor in 2009.

Though the Post claims that “Sandoval is increasingly viewed by some key Democrats as perhaps the only nominee President Obama could select who would be able to break a Republican blockade in the Senate,” the second-ranking Senate Republican poured cold water on this idea almost immediately after the Post’s report went live. According to Politico’s Burgess Everett, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) “says [it] doesn’t make a difference if Sandoval is the nominee.”

The fact that Obama would consider naming Sandoval is surprising, given the governor’s past statements on the Affordable Care Act. In his first State of the State Address in 2011, Sandoval said that “many aspects of the law are unconstitutional” and he pledged to “continue to fight to have them overturned.” He later personally signed briefs filed in the Supreme Court arguing against the law’s constitutionality and claiming that the Supreme Court “should hold the ACA invalid in its entirety.”

It’s worth noting that, after losing this case, Sandoval did agree to implement provisions of the law, such as its Medicaid expansion. Nevertheless, if Sandoval’s position had prevailed in the Supreme Court, Obamacare would have completely ceased to exist.
I understand that Obama is looking for items to bolster his legacy, and getting another Supreme Court justice confirmed by the Senate would be a feather in his cap, but Sandoval is only 52, and would likely be on the court for more than 25 years.

I understand your need to do your PPUS (Post Partisan Unity Schtick), and I know that you really want to appoint another justice, but it's not worth it if you have to appoint a bad justice.


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