The flag in front of the Supreme Court building flies at half-staff for late Justice Antonin Scalia. Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite, File

I’m not sure I follow the thinking in the Tribune‘s editorial Sunday addressing the vacancy on the Supreme Court. President Obama wants to nominate a successor to Antonin Scalia; the Republicans vow they’ll ignore the nomination. Said the Tribune: “May we suggest there is indeed a middle ground.”

Obama is “full entitled” to name a successor, said the Tribune, and the Senate is “full entitled” to hold hearings, debate the nominee, and vote him or her up or down. 

How is that a middle ground? If the Republican-controlled Senate votes the nomination up, Obama gets his way. If it votes the nomination after engaging in a dog-and-pony show it’s wasted everyone’s time and fooled nobody. 

The only compromise I can think of is if Obama agrees to nominate a justice who’ll vote just like Scalia and the Senate agrees to confirm him. He gets his judge; they get their law.

The Tribune knows that won’t happen.

“The GOP believes the American people want a court that will follow a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment, allow state restrictions on abortion facilities, curb affirmative action and protect employers with religious objections from having to participate in the provision of contraceptives to their employees,” said the Tribune editorial page.
“Obama would prefer that the justices rule differently on those issues.”

This is where the editorial lost me. I’m not generous enough to think for a second that the GOP simply wants to do right by the American people, and I don’t believe the Tribune thinks that either. To the extent the GOP is of a single mind—and no political party is—I believe it’s a lot less concerned with what the public wants than with what its conservative Republican base demands. 

Yet the Tribune generous pretends it’s advising a Republican Party whose intentions are pure but mistaken. Apparently I’m losing the battle against becoming as polarized as everyone else, because I think that’s nonsense.