Over at The Atlantic, Max Fisher draws some conclusions from the Kagan confirmation, and I think he’s pulled together a pretty good summation of what folks in Washington are thinking—but that doesn’t mean they’re right.
Fisher argues that since 37 votes were cast against Kagan, and since the GOP could pick up Senate seats in November, Obama will be forced to nominate a “moderate.”
Not so fast.
The fact that 37 Senators voted against Elena Kagan is a sign that Senate Republicans will fight anyone who gets nominated to the high court, no matter how unobjectionable (a fact that’s borne out by their disgraceful treatment of lower court nominees.) If Republicans are willing to attack a Supreme Court nominee endorsed by Jack Goldsmith, Miguel Estrada, Ken Starr and Ted Olson, they’re not going to let anyone off without a food fight.
Will more Republicans mean a bigger fight next time? Maybe, but there’s nothing to be done about it. President Obama should consider himself free to nominate whoever he wants: if we’re going to fight, it might as well be a fight worth having.