A variety of news organizations are reporting that President Barack Obama is vetting Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval for the Supreme Court. Many observers view this as a politically shrewd maneuver because Sandoval is a Republican, and it puts the Senate Majority in the uncomfortable position of having to oppose the nomination of a fellow Republican.
But those who are viewing this in partisan terms are missing the point. Filling a Supreme Court vacancy is not a matter of figuring out what political party a person belongs to. It’s about judicial philosophy. It is possible to be a member of the conservative party and simultaneously to hold to an activist judicial philosophy. We don’t need a Republican on the Supreme Court. We need an originalist.
On his Facebook page, Robbie George explains:
Is Republican Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval a good “compromise candidate” for the Supreme Court?
Nope. At least not as far as I’m concerned.
Sandoval would be one more in the shamefully long line of Republican socially liberal judicial activists. Another Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stephens, David Souter . . .
He would uphold and extend Roe and Obergefell. And that would be only the beginning.
It makes perfect sense for Democrats and liberals to try to sell Sandoval (“he’s a Republican!”) to Republicans and conservatives. But it would be beyond foolish for Republicans and conservatives to take the deal.
Let me put it to you this way: if conservatives reject Sandoval and Bernie Sanders is elected President and appoints Barack Obama to fill the Scalia seat on the Supreme Court, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. The two men would for all intents and purposes be indistinguishable in their opinions and voting. There wouldn’t be a dime’s worth of difference between them.
Let’s not be fools.
As I’ve said before, the appointment of Supreme Court justices is the defining issue for pro-life voters. To fill the vacancy left by Scalia with an activist judge would mean solidifying Roe v. Wade for another generation. We need to let our elected representatives know that we do not want them to let that happen. No hearings. No votes.
UPDATE: NBC News reports that Governor Sandoval does not wish to be considered for the vacancy. From the report:
Sandoval, a Republican who favors abortion rights and supported the court’s decision on same sex marriage last year, made the statement just one day after news broke that he was being considered for the job.
“Earlier today, I notified the White House that I do not wish to be considered at this time for possible nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Sandoval said in a statement, adding that he has also discussed his decision with top Senate leaders. “The notion of being considered for a seat on the highest court in the land is beyond humbling and I am incredibly grateful to have been mentioned.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if President Obama were to try to nominate someone else who has the same characteristics as Sandoval. That is why the Senate majority needs to hold firm. No hearings. No votes.