The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has a new conspiracy theory about the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court:
Despite spending his career on the bench and in the Justice Department, Garland doesn’t have much of an ideological paper trail. As many have pointed out, the D.C. Circuit Court deals primarily with regulatory issues, meaning that Judge Garland’s record is virtually free of cases on abortion, marriage, or religious liberty. And that’s no accident. If President Obama wants to keep up this façade of centrism, he needs someone free of social baggage. But, make no mistake. Garland was carefully vetted. This president is too worried about his activist legacy to put it in the hands of a man who values the very Constitution it defies.
According to Perkins, Garland’s 19 years as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is merely a cover. Perkins’ attack is odd, considering that Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas, and the late Antonin Scalia all served on the D.C. Circuit prior to their nominations to the Supreme Court.
Unsurprisingly, when Roberts was appointed to the court, Perkins had no objection to his previous service on the D.C. Circuit. Instead, a New York Times article referencing Robert’s “limited judicial record” quotes the Family Research Council leader gushing over the nominee. “The president is a man of his word,” said Perkins. “He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done.”
If anything, Perkins’ questions about Garland’s lack of a paper trail on the issues he particularly cares about should increase his desire for a hearing at which the nominee could answer questions about his philosophy and track record from Republican senators.
If nothing else, this latest argument demonstrates the conservative movement’s inability to find anything in Garland’s record that would suggest he is unqualified to serve on the court.