Seizing an Opportunity

At Business Insider Allen Smith reports on a proposal by Trump advisor Chris Ruddy that strikes me as pretty shrewd. Cut a deal with Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg whereby she’d retire and he’d nominate Merrick Garland to replace her:

Chris Ruddy, a confidant of President Donald Trump, told Business Insider in a Monday interview that Trump should cut a deal with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. His proposition: Replace her on the bench with Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacated seat in 2016.

Ruddy, who wrote about his opposition to the Senate’s invoking the so-called nuclear option to help get Judge Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court, said Trump nominating Garland to the court would be a “huge move.”

“I think they made a big mistake by pulling the nuclear option,” Ruddy said. “I wrote about it. I said they should not have done it. I think that he still should pick Merrick Garland and do a deal. Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants to retire, and I think they should swap her out, give her an offer where they would put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court.”

“They would remove a very liberal Democrat with a moderate, consensus Democrat, who I think Garland is,” Ruddy added. “And I think it would be a huge move and a sign for Trump that he’s willing to break through the political ice.”

Such a move would

  • Preserve the putative partisan balance of the Supreme Court
  • Potentially move the ideological balance of the court in a direction more to the liking of his base
  • Ensure that Trump has another bite at the Supreme Court justice apple rather than gambling on the health and temper of Justices Ginsburg and Kennedy
  • Give the impression of being conciliatory without actually being conciliatory

Would Trump do it? Would RBG bite? I have no idea.

I doubt that it would pick up any support from the Sanders-Warren wing of the Democratic Party but it might sow some doubt.

8 comments… add one
  • CuriousOnlooker

    Given the distaste both individuals have for each other which seems to go beyond ideology, the odds are 0.

    More likely RBG is gambling that democrats will win back the senate in 2018 or 2020. Its not an unreasonable bet.

  • Steve

    No way it gets past the GOP Senate. Can’t say I would blame them. A number of them are likely putting up with the chaos and incompetence of the Trump group just so they can get conservative judges.


  • Guarneri

    All in favor say “aye.” Aye.


  • Modulo Myself

    I have a friend who is still owed around 50K because Donald Trump didn’t want to pay her. The idea that there’s a deal to be made with this guy is laughable.

    Moreover, if the Democrats were dumb enough to take this deal (and the Schumer-types might be) I guaranteeGarland ends up being replaced by the likes of Roy Moore (maybe because of plagiary charges). And the same stupid assholes who are think this is conciliatory would be offering up a similar deal to the hostile Democrats who just can’t get over their Trump hatred. If I was a staunch conservative I would be selling this deal 24/7–there are no downsides. The base and the base-curious moderates like Dave will never ever stray. You could offer this deal and then kill Garland at the Senate confirmation hearings and everyone would be distrated by a few unsourced leaks about who did what. They could do whatever they want as long as there’s a liberal elitist/globalist/jew somewhere.

    Meanwhile, all of the stuff about Susan Rice turns about to be bogus. Turns out Donald Trump and his GOP flacks are full of it. But both sides do it, folks. Both sides.

  • Guarneri

    Having a bad day, MM?

  • Gray Shambler


  • CuriousOnlooker

    Now there’s a good chance that RBG’s bet will not work out.

    In which case, Ginsburg and Democrats needs to live with the consequences of their decisions. RBG had 8 years to retire and let the previous President pick her successor. Senate democrats chose to go nuclear in 2013 when Obama’s approval rating was below 50, meaning there was a high chance the Republicans would pick up the senate and the Presidency, which occurred.

    But it all balances out eventually, so one day R’s too will regret the judicial wars.

  • Andy

    I don’t see it happening. First of all, it would be an unseemly political deal that would stain the reputation of the court. I doubt Ginsberg wants to go out like that. Secondly, the GoP would hate it. I guess it’s possible that Trump would do something to piss them off completely, but it seems doubtful. Plus, the GoP has a decent chance to keep the Senate in the mid-terms and 4 years in actuarial eternity for an 84 and 80 year old.

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