Democrats Gear Up for Epic Fight Over Supreme Court

“Senate Democrats are gearing up for a potentially ugly fight over Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court pick, with some liberal activists urging them to do everything possible to block any nominee from the Republican president-elect,” Reuters reports.

“Democrats are still seething over the Republican-led Senate’s decision last year to refuse to consider outgoing President Barack Obama’s nomination of appeals court judge Merrick Garland for a lifetime post on the court. The action had little precedent in U.S. history and prompted some Democrats to accuse Republicans of stealing a Supreme Court seat.”

Trump Meets with Supreme Court Candidate

President-elect Donald Trump “has met with one of the judges on his short list for potential Supreme Court nominees, less than two weeks before he is expected to announce his choice for the nation’s highest court,” the AP reports.

“Judge William Pryor, an Alabama-based judge on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, met with Trump in New York on Saturday, said two people familiar with the meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting had not been publicly announced.”

Schumer Vows to Keep Supreme Court Vacancy Open

Though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) risky gambit to halt the confirmation process for Merrick Garland may have paid off, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) warned that Republicans will face payback for their year-long blockade of President Obama’s nominee in due time, Politico reports.

Said Schumer: “The consequences are gonna be down the road. We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don’t appoint someone who’s really good, we’re gonna oppose him tooth and nail.”

When asked whether he would do his best to keep the vacancy open, Schumer responded without hesitation: “Absolutely.”

Jeffrey Toobin: How to stop a Trump Supreme Court nominee

Inside Trump’s Strategy to Remake the Supreme Court

Politico: “Donald Trump has narrowed his short list for his first Supreme Court pick down to roughly a half-dozen finalists but the president-elect and his top advisers are already thinking about a second selection, as they seek to quickly remodel the high court with a reliably conservative bent. Trump’s team wants to make filling the seat held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia one of the earliest acts of his presidency, according to multiple transition officials, in hopes of scoring an energizing and unifying victory for the conservative movement.”

Josh Gerstein looks at the potential nominees.

Supreme Court Pick Coming Soon

President-elect Donald Trump said he had narrowed his choices for a potential Supreme Court nominee to “three or four” candidates and that a decision would be coming “pretty soon,” Politico reports.

Said Trump: “They are terrific people, highly respected, brilliant people and we’ll be announcing that pretty soon too.”

GOP Likely to End Filibuster for Supreme Court Nominees

“Top Senate Republicans are drawing a hard line on the Supreme Court, guaranteeing that no matter what tactics Democrats deploy, they will be forced to swallow Donald Trump’s imminent nominee to the high court,” Politico reports.

“Republicans won’t come out and say it, but there’s an implicit threat in their confidence: If Democrats play things the wrong way, they might find themselves on the wrong end of a legacy-defining change to Senate rules that scraps the chamber’s 60-vote threshold to confirm Supreme Court nominees.”

Trump Affirms He’ll Appoint Pro-Life Justices

President-elect Donald Trump 60 Minutes that his role of appointing a Supreme Court justice is “very important” — and that he plans to appoint pro-life justices.

Said Trump: “I’m pro-life. The judges will be pro-life.”

Asked specifically whether he wants the Supreme Court to repeal the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, he said: “If it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states.”

Asked if that meant some women would be unable to receive abortions, assuming their home states ban them, he added: “Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.”

The full transcript of his interview is now available.

Graham Suggests Cruz for the Supreme Court

Sen. Lindsey Graham told WYFF that President-elect Donald Trump should nominate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to the Supreme Court.

Said Graham: “I’m here to tell my Democratic colleagues that I voted for Obama’s nominees. I expect them to give Trump’s nominees a fair shake. He won this election. He will pick a conservative. I would put Ted Cruz on that list… There are some really strong people in there. And there is no stronger constitutional conservative than Ted Cruz.”

Two GOP Senators Won’t Block Court Nominees

Atlanta Journal Constitution: “Georgia’s two senators said they will consider Supreme Court nominees based on their individual merits in the new year, effectively rejecting a strategy some Republican colleagues have floated should Hillary Clinton win the presidency on Tuesday.”

“Their remarks come as a few high profile Senate Republicans, including John McCain and Ted Cruz, and some conservative groups have proposed indefinitely blocking any Clinton Supreme Court nomination in order to stonewall any further ideological changes to the court.”

Republican Rift Over Supreme Court Widens

“Senate Republicans are choosing sides ahead of a brutal conflict over how to handle the lingering Supreme Court vacancy, with Jeff Flake firing back at a suggestion by Ted Cruz that the party could indefinitely block any nominee from Hillary Clinton,” Politico reports.

“The internal GOP battle over what to do about Merrick Garland — President Barack Obama’s choice for the court — and any future Clinton nominee will dominate the lame duck session of Congress after the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is holding the seat vacant for the next president — but Cruz has suggested that Republicans could continue to block Democrats from appointing a new nominee for much longer.”

Cruz Says GOP May Block Nominees Indefinitely

“In a vintage return to his confrontational style, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) indicated that Republicans could seek to block a Democratic president from filling the vacant Supreme Court seat indefinitely,” Politico reports.

Said Cruz: “There will be plenty of time for debate on that issue… There is certainly long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices.”

Clinton Might Not Choose Garland for Supreme Court

Hillary Clinton said she wouldn’t be bound by President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, hinting that she would consider a bolder choice if she takes office in January with the seat still unfilled, Bloomberg reports.

However, she also said she wouldn’t ask Obama to withdraw Garland’s nomination after Election Day, leaving open the possibility he could be confirmed with her implicit blessing in a congressional lame-duck session.