Breaking News

Wednesday round-up

At Think Progress, Ian Millhiser discusses Sen. John McCain’s assertion in an interview on Monday (later softened by a statement from McCain’s office) that Senate Republicans will block any Supreme Court nominee if Hillary Clinton wins in November, arguing that the “tactic that McCain is proposing is nothing less than an existential threat to the Supreme Court itself.” The editorial board of The Washington Post also weighs in on McCain’s remarks, noting that while “in the past, Mr. McCain … was a voice of restraint on these matters,” he now “recklessly encourages Republican voters to expect that GOP senators will refuse any Democratic Supreme Court nominee.” Additional commentary comes from Tara Goldshan in Vox, who observes that “McCain is directly stating something that the public has known all along — that the argument against Garland is not about democracy but ideology,” and in an op-ed in The Arizona Republic, where E.J. Montini maintains that what “McCain is admitting to — what he is actually promising — is a dereliction of his constitutional duty.” Also at Vox, Matthew Yglesias points out that “it’s hard not to sympathize with the GOP” and that this “kind of irresolvable conflict is, unfortunately, baked into America’s system of government — a system that really only works if the parties aren’t ideologically disciplined and polarized.” At Above the Law, Elie Mystal asserts that “this is a constitutional crisis unfolding in plain sight.” 

More general commentary on the Supreme Court vacancy stalemate and the implications of the election for the court comes from the editorial boards of the Baltimore Sun and The Kansas City Star, and in op-eds by Ralph Neas at the Huffington Post and Jeremy Paris at Michael Gerhardt and Richard Painter weigh in on the confirmation impasse in an ACS Issue Brief.


  • In The National Review, George Leef discusses the case of Nebraska financial advisor and tea party activist Bob Bennie, who lost a suit against government regulators who he claimed had retaliated against him after he criticized President Barack Obama, and who has filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review his case, arguing that when “arrogant and abusive public officials can mount a vendetta against a citizen just because they don’t like his politics and get away with it, we’re in terrible trouble.”
  • In Harvard Magazine, Lincoln Caplan discusses a recent book on the Supreme Court and the death penalty, whose authors “explain why, for the most pragmatic of reasons, the Court should end capital punishment in the United States,” and provide an “account of what the country should never forget about the racial pathologies of the death penalty that provide an indelible moral basis for abolishing it, as well.”
  • At Vice, Steve Freiss observes “that an out LGBTQ justice is now not only possible but possibly imminent” and speculates on some possible nominees.
  • At Law 360 (subscription or registration required), Ed Beeson takes an in-depth look at how President Barack Obama’s push for diversity on the bench is reshaping the judiciary, including the Supreme Court.

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

Recommended Citation: Edith Roberts, Wednesday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 19, 2016, 7:58 AM),