A friend of the blog–on a listserv that’s de facto OFT, but if he reads this and gives me permission I’ll update with his real name–wrote that he hopes that Obama nominates an unabashedly liberal “fuck you” candidate to the Supreme Court and dares the GOP to filibuster. After all, while Republicans are currently calling a filibuster “unlikely,” it’s so hardwired into their current political strategy that Mitch McConnell and co. are likely filibustering in their sleep, in the shower, in the car on the way to work, etc. It’s only “unlikely” because Obama hasn’t named a nominee yet, but once he does, the folks on the other side of the aisle will decide, much to their sorrow, that said nominee is to the left of Noam Chomsky, loves terrorists, and must be stopped at all costs.
Since no compromise is possible with the modern Republican Party, might as well forget about a compromise nomination. And Obama, to his credit, seems to have finally mastered his compulsive conciliatory tendencies.
If I had to guess, I’d say that this will make the confirmation process easier, not harder. The Republicans will likely present a united opposition no matter what, but a strong liberal pick will at least energize the Democratic base, which in turn will put more pressure on the Democrats to hew to the party line in response. And if the Republicans know that the first choice, if defeated, will be replaced by one even more liberal, and so on, then eventually one of them will waver.