David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

Alright, I want to be clear that this disagreement among Senate Republicans is over a minor subplot in the Merrick Garland confirmation saga: Would they confirm him in a lame duck session after the November election if Hillary Clinton wins? The idea is that Garland would be a better (and probably older) choice than anyone Hillary would nominate, especially if Republicans have lost the Senate.

But as I noted below that idea really undercuts the GOP's rationale for a united opposition to even considering Obama's nominee now. And several GOP senators already see why that is problematic.

"We can't have it both ways," Lindsey Graham said. "We cannot say 'let the people speak,' and then say 'no, you can't.' If you are going to let the people speak, let 'em speak and honor their choice."

More from Lauren Fox on The Hill here.

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Orrin Hatch is obviously a big fan of Merrick Garland. Not just in the sense that he voted to confirm him to the appeals court nearly two decades ago and now Dems want to use that against him. But in a real, this-is-my-kind-of-Democrat kind of way.

Here's Hatch in 1997 singing Garland's praises. But even as recently as last week Hatch was like, yeah, right, Obama will never nominate someone like Garland when he can pander to the liberal base. Oops.

And now you've got Hatch undercutting the GOP stonewall by saying he'd consider confirming Garland in a lame duck session if Hillary Clinton wins in November.

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This idea that Senate Republicans will roll over if Hillary Clinton wins in November and go ahead and confirm Merrick Garland in a lame duck session really undercuts their whole argument about why they can't even consider his nomination now. Nina Totenberg reports this lame duck thing was signaled to the White House via back channels. Sen. Orrin Hatch is on board with it. Lauren Fox has other GOP senators expressing irritation with the idea. And you can understand why. Her report coming soon.

I want to be careful not to over-interpret this, but a few more Republican senators have said today they would be willing to meet with Merrick Garland. That is at odds with what Senate GOP leadership and conservative outside groups have been calling for, mainly because they want to avoid going down a slippery slope where it becomes about the nominee rather than their blanket opposition to Obama naming the next Supreme Court justice.

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Citing an unnamed source, Reuters reported late Tuesday that President Obama had narrowed his short list of potential Supreme Court nominees to two men and could announce his nominee as early as Wednesday.

The final two candidates for the seat left open by the death of Antonin Scalia are Judge Sri Srinivasan and Judge Merrick Garland, both of whom sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, Reuters reported, citing a "source familiar with the selection process."