John Kasich bombs answer on Supreme Court nominations

John Kasich is running as the reasonable moderate in the Republican race. John Kasich is neither reasonable nor moderate.

It’s especially difficult for Kasich to square this circle given his insistence of toeing the Republican Party line with a smile on his face. Check out this answer he gave to Stephen Colbert when asked if he would, presented with a Supreme Court vacancy in the last year of his term, nominate a replacement:

Said Kasich:

John Kasich, via Michael Vadon / Flickr

John Kasich, via Michael Vadon / Flickr

Kasich: I’ll tell you what the problem is: As soon as Scalia died — it was one minute after his death — the politics started. We are so divided down there. And my approach is this: I’ve said the president oughtta withhold this, and then we’re gonna have an election…

Colbert: We had an election in 2012…

Kasich: All I’m saying is, it’s an opportunity for people to — number one, vote for president — and also have a say on who’s going to be on the Supreme Court. If I were president, just like when I’m Governor of Ohio, you have to bring people together. And you can’t have all this fighting back and forth like we have in Washington. You can’t solve these problems, Stephen — Social Security, you can’t solve the border, you can’t get the economy growing — unless you have some sense of unity.

Colbert: So if you were president — if you were President Obama — you would say “I will not appoint anyone.”

Kasich: No I’m saying…if I were president, we’re not gonna have this division. Because I’m going to spend my time building bridges so we can grow this economy…

Kasich: We’re going to have an election now in, before we know it, the blink of an eye. And then that president will have the confirmation to be able to appoint who they want. And I think it will be a more orderly, less political fight than what we’re seeing now. [audience boos]

To be clear, this is John Kasich bemoaning how politicized the Supreme Court nomination process has become in one sentence, while embracing the very argument that has politicized the process in the next sentence. The claim that a president should refrain from filling a Supreme Court vacancy during the last year of their term is entirely unprecedented. It very obviously has nothing to do with constitutional principle and everything to do with partisan advantage. It is not reasonable, nor is it moderate, to say that President Obama should become the first president in American history to abdicate his constitutional responsibility to fill vacancies on our nation’s highest court simply because he’d be filling a vacancy left by a justice who didn’t share his politics.

He’s got a cute schtick going, but it isn’t hard to imagine why Republicans outside of New Hampshire aren’t buying it.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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