A lot of ground has shifted in the political landscape since last week, including speculation surrounding the President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination and the retrospectively inevitable departure of Jeb Bush from the campaign trail.
First examining the SCOTUS talk: Of course this is a pivotal issue, as Obama has a chance to replace the most conservative Just ice on the bench with a liberal who will impact the Supreme Court rulings for the next 20 to 50 years. Consequently, the GOP Senate has declared themselves unwilling to consider a hearing for any individual whom Obama nominates, although the level of their commitment to this stance remains to be seen.
Now it can safely be taken for granted that the Republicans will oppose any Obama nominee.
The wildcard in the nomination process is the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party, rumored to be opposed to the candidate considered to be the one Obama favors the most,Judge Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the second most prestigious judicial appointment in the U.S. after the Supreme Court itself.
Srinivasan would fit the profile of other Obama’s appointee, as he would satisfy several firsts: the first Indian-American Justice and first Hindu Justice. He is only 48, so he would have the chance to shape the rulings of the Court for the foreseeable future. He has been vetted recently, being confirmed to his current appointment in 2013 and sailing through the Senate with a 97-0 confirmation art.
However, Srinivasan would likely face at least some opposition from the very left-most wing of the Democratic Party, where Sen. Elizabeth Warren and unexpectedly strong presidential candidate Bernie Sanders hold court. This is because Srinivasan has rather close ties to Wall Street and has represented a former Enron executive and ExxonMobil in court before.
In an election year of populist anti-establishment sentiment, this might open him up to the same kind of attacks linking him
to Wall Street as were brought against Jack Lew by Warren and Sanders during Lew’s confirmation hearing for the secretary of the treasury.
Second, we have Jeb! finally dropping out of the race.
This comes at no surprise.
Bush’s entire campaign was based on the premise that he would clear the entire Republican field before anyone ever announced, overawing his opponents with vast amounts of money and his impressive resumé.
Unfortunately, this never happened, and indeed in the early months of the campaign, it appeared that Bush was the over- awed party, beaten down and belittled by insurgent challenger and today’s apparent frontrunner, Donald Trump.
While Bush’s debating performances witnessed a marked improvement in the last weeks of the campaign, his last name and poor performances early on in Iowa and New Hampshire helped to quickly usher him out the door.
In some ways, this is a shame, as Jeb is an intelligent and compassionate man who might have proven to be an excellent President.