Senator Jeff Flake seems to be reading the writing on the wall, and it’s causing him to push back against his fellow Republicans in the Senate.
The Arizona Republican, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee, told The Daily Beast that “nobody really believes” a Supreme Court seat should remain vacant until the next president is sworn in.
“Our position shouldn’t be that the next president ought to decide. Nobody really believes that, because if this were the last year of a Republican presidency nobody would say that,” Flake said.
Merrick Garland was appointed by Obama to fill the SCOTUS seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year.
Republican lawmakers have fought against giving him a vote, due to what they consider the principle of the matter. They feel no Supreme Court seats should be filled during an election season, preferring to wait until the new president is in office.
Senator Flake has insisted that the goal should be to get the most conservative justice in place, as possible. Garland, a moderate, may be the best shot at that.
“That ought to be the principle, and that would allow for us to go with Garland if the alternative is somebody more liberal,” he added.
Flake opened the door earlier this year to confirming Garland during an end-of-year lame-duck session if Democrat Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election in November.
So far, his colleagues are calling it a terrible idea, but should things roll to Hillary Clinton in November, her picks will be decidedly far left.
This is what has Senator Flake concerned.
The really scary part is, should Trump take it, there’s no guarantee that his actual picks, and not just those who were named on his latest list, will be any more conservative.