On MSNBC talking SCOTUS

MSNBCDon’t have a video clip yet, but here’s the transcript of my short segment about the Supreme Court vacancy and the Garland nomination on “All In with Chris Hayes” (MSNBC), 8/9/16:

HAYES: Senate Republicans continue their completely unprecedented obstruction of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Now, for the 146th day, refusing to even give him a hearing. In the short-term, seems like there`s nothing the Democrats can do about it. But, here is the thing, as another poll shows Trump down by double-digits nationally, Republicans could not only be facing another Democrat in the Oval Office, but could also lose control of the senate.

Then it gets interesting, because the Senate GOP could end up with a nominee they like even less than Garland, something Republican Susan Collins suggested on this network today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R) MAINE: That`s the very interesting scenario that I have raised with my colleagues in the senate. And that is that they may be hoisted on their own petard here. If Hillary is elected, I believe that she is much more likely to nominate someone who is to the left of Merrick Garland, because I believe that President Obama deliberately and wisely, in my view, chose someone who was a centrist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joining me now, Jason Steed, an appellate attorney, who has argued before the Supreme Court, contributor at Huffington Post. And Jason, you have been tweeting about the scenarios by which this all might play out. So, my sense always is the Republicans want two bites of the apple. Their plan is, block Merrick Garland now. If Clinton wins, rush to confirm him, because he`s the best they`ll get in the lame duck. How do you upset that?

JASON STEED, APPELLATE ATTORNEY: How do the Democrats upset that?

HAYES: Yeah, if the Democrats want to prevent that from happening?

STEED: Yeah, I think the best way to upset that is if there`s a credible threat of Garland`s nomination being withdrawn. So if the morning after the election, we have President Clinton who has been elected and a Democratic senate majority and there`s a real threat they could withdraw – that President Obama could withdraw Garland`s nomination, then I think the Republicans are under pressure to try to confirm him before the election.

If that seems like that`s a really scenario…

HAYES: Right. So the key is that the White House or the Clinton campaign or Democrats have to be sending some sort of back-channel message publicly or privately to Republicans on the Hill, saying, you only get one bite of the apple. You don`t confirm him, we`re withdrawing him. Hillary Clinton is going will find a 25-year-old to put on the court for the next 70 years.

STEED: Right, a 25-year-old version of Pam [Karlan]* or something like that.

HAYES: Right, right.

STEED: So, I mean, I think – the fact that Garland`s name wasn`t mentioned at the Democratic National Convention the entire week…

HAYES: Oh, that`s a good point.

STEED: Yeah, I mean, I think that President Obama`s been pushing him a little bit, but not a lot lately. And certainly Tim Kaine left open the possibility that Hillary Clinton might not nominate him. He endorsed his nomination, but didn`t really say 100 percent that she, for sure, would renominate him, if she was elected. So, I mean, I think the door is open. And if the threat is real and it looks like they`ll lose the Senate, really all President Obama has to say, is look, you guys wanted the voters to decide who is going to fill the seat. They`ve decided. So I`m going to let the new President Clinton control the seat.

HAYES: That`s right. They are hoisted by their own petard there, because that has been the argument, which is we need to have the people weigh in. And if they weigh in, it makes no sense to carry over to the lame duck the person the previous president – I mean, you can`t make both arguments simultaneously in good faith.

STEED: Right. And Senator McConnell has said no doubt about it, they will not confirm President Obama`s nominee. So they`ve really sort of opened the door themselves to the possibility that he won`t be the guy.

HAYES: This is going to be fascinating. We`re going to track this as we bear down the stretch. Jason Steed, Thank you.

* Pam Karlan is a professor at Stanford Law School, a favorite candidate for the Supreme Court among many left-leaning legal folks but typically considered too far-left to be confirmed (as long as the filibuster is still available). The MSNBC transcript misspells Karlan’s name as “Carlin,” so I’ve corrected the spelling here.