Totenberg: GOP Sent Obama 'Backchannel' Message Will Move SCOTUS Nomination After Election

March 16th, 2016 9:11 PM

On today's With All Due Respect, NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg broke some news, saying she thought President Obama "got a message from Republicans via backchannels that they would probably move this [Supreme Court] nomination after the presidential election."

Let's game-plan this out. If it means that Senate Republicans would move to confirm President Obama's pick of Merrick Garland even if a Republican were elected president, it would be a huge backstab of the Republican base. But if Republicans would only move Garland if a Dem wins, thus depriving Hillary or whomever of the chance to nominate an unreconstruced radical, then it could be a crafty maneuver. Totenberg added that once Obama got such a concession, Dems would "work very hard" to get other concessions, forcing a hearing and a vote.

JOHN HEILEMANN: Part of what President Obama was doing here was making a pic making it difficult  for Republicans not to give him a hearing. Don't you see that as being the case? 

NINA TOTENBERG: I do. I entirely see that. You can see that those who wanted him to make a more liberal choice, somebody younger, somebody who might be there longer. You can argue you this [inaudble], see he did not do that, therefore it is not political. However, he did not do that in part because he got a message I think from Republican via back channels, that they would probably move this nomination after the presidential election in the lame-duck session. And once you get that concession, you can start to work on other concessions. And they're going to work very hard to try to break down this idea that there shouldn't be a hearing and a vote when the president has made a nomination in March.