Merrick Garland: Is John Kasich a Serous Candidate?

Kasich is always trying to show he is moderate and thoughtful.

Yesterday CBS host John Dickerson asked John Kasich on Face the Nation: "As someone who's talked about unity, would you take a look at Mr. Garland ... if you were elected president?" Dickerson was inquiring about President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

"Well, you know, he received ... overwhelming support ... even from Senator Hatch, so of course we'd think about it," Kasich replied. The way we do it, John, is we look at a person's record. I want a conservative who's not going to make the law but who will interpret the law and somebody of high standing. I don't care about their peccadilloes you know 30 years ago. But we have a process. I've appointed over 100 judges in Ohio, including a woman that, fortunately, I was able to appoint to the Ohio Supreme Court. And we've had good success with our selections."

The headline was: "John Kasich: I'd consider nominating Merrick Garland to Supreme Court." Then Kasich clarified his position saying his response was only "an effort to be polite." Further, he wanted to emphasize that Garland is "not gonna be my pick for the Supreme Court."

President Barack Obama is adamant that the U.S. Senate move forward on his nomination. His supporters - as is often the case when Obama is challenged - say or imply that the real issue is President Obama's race. This is part of a repeated partisan effort to exploit race. They want to inflame their African-American base for a high November turnout, even if it causes bad feeling and further divides the country. It is no accident that President Obama's tenure has made the country more racially divided.

President Obama attempted a filibuster to block a vote on President George W. Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito. When Joe Biden chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, he said that in the last year of George H.W. Bush's presidency, Democrats should block any Supreme Court nomination.

Merrick Garland is an intelligent man, of high character and judicial temperament. But he cannot fill the shoes of the man who held that seat, Antonin Scalia, a constitutional scholar of awesome intellect who would restrain an expansionist president.According to the "Biden Rule" the nomination should not be considered. So Kasich was wrong to even discuss the merits of Garland. Once you go down that road, you accept the premise that a president in his final year should put someone on the high court. As we've seen, the Democrats would not affirm a Republican appointment in the last year of a presidency.

Further, Kasich's reference to Sen. Hatch's prior support for Garland on the Court of Appeals was absurd, since the standard for confirmation is different. We know Kasich always wants to talk about himself, and somehow he had to talk about appointing a woman in Ohio. Instead of his overall disjointed response, John Kasich could have scored a home run and gone on offense against Obama and his imperial presidency, and the need for judicial restraint and balance, and a judiciary that serves a check in the executive branch. But Kasich is always trying to show he is moderate and thoughtful. Instead he sometimes comes across as muddled. People expect incoherence from Trump, so he can get away with a stream of consciousness response. At this point, John Kasich can't.