JOSEPH F. KOBYLKA
With the Supreme court split evenly between liberal and conservative justices and a number of America’s most salient political issues likely to be argued in front of the court in the years ahead, Kobylka says the impact of Merrick Garland, if appointed, would be huge.
“If the appointee were to join the so-called liberal block, you could see changes in issues with affirmative action, campaign finance, abortion rights and questions of federal power like Obamacare,” Kobylka says. Garland’s nomination, he says, is likely more politically significant than legally significant because there’s a danger of his becoming a political pawn.
“Garland has been on the court of appeals for years,” Kobylka says. “He’s 63 years old, which is older than most nominees. I think Roberts was 50 and Kagan was 50 – so that might be to appeal to critics and show Obama’s not stacking the court for the next 30 years. The problem with Garland is he clerked for Brennan, who was a liberal, and Garland was a Clinton appointee, so this is a traditional democratic pick.
“In a sense, Garland could become a sacrificial lamb and a political whipping post,” Kobylka adds.
Kobylka is an associate professor of political science. He can discuss:
- Supreme Court cases and politics
- constitutional law
- judicial decision making
- American political thought