The fallout from the U.S. Senate’s disastrous blockade of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland continued yesterday as the Court was forced to issue several new and momentous rulings without its full complement of justices. The lowlight occurred, of course, when the Court deadlocked 4-4 on a critically important immigration law decision. This from a story in the New York Times:
“Mr. Obama said the court’s immigration ruling was a stark reminder of the consequences of Republicans’ refusal to consider Judge Merrick B. Garland, the president’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
‘If you keep on blocking judges from getting on the bench, then courts can’t issue decisions,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘And what that means is then you are going to have the status quo frozen, and we are not able to make progress on some very important issues.’”
Meanwhile, at the same time that the Supreme Court was issuing its short-staffed rulings, new polling confirmed once again how opposed North Carolina voters are to the blockade of Garland that Senators Burr and Tillis continue to help prop up. This is the latest from Public Policy Polling:
“Another issue that plays well for [Democratic Senate nominee Deborah] Ross is the Supreme Court vacancy. 56% of voters in the state think there should be hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination, to only 24% who are opposed to those. There’s strong support from both Democrats (69/9) and independents (56/25) for hearings and even Republicans are pretty closely divided (38/42) on holding them. Voters say by a 19 point margin that they’re less likely to vote for a Senate candidate opposed to hearings on Garland’s nomination.”
The bottom line: One gets the distinct impression that time is running out on the conservative ideologues who continue to block progress in so many critical aspect of American law and policy, but sadly, it also appears these people are determined to do as much damage as they can before they’re forced to cede power.