POLITICS
04/18/2017 02:10 pm ET

Trump Confidant Floats Crazy RBG-For-Merrick-Garland SCOTUS Swap

An idea so dumb that light cannot escape from it.

If you woke up this morning with the need to read about a really stupid idea someone had, rejoice! For here is some stupid-idea manna from stupid-idea heaven:

Ha, what now? President Donald Trump should “do a deal” with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that would see her vacate her Supreme Court seat for a swap-a-doo with Merrick Garland? This is great. Surprisingly, this notion was not dreamed up by noted twin-engine bad idea machine Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, though you could be forgiven for thinking so. No, this is a plan hatched by Newsmax CEO and Trump confidant Chris Ruddy, and written up by Business Insider’s Allan Smith. It goes a little something like this:

“I think they made a big mistake by pulling the nuclear option,” Ruddy said. “I wrote about it. I said they should not have done it. I think that he still should pick Merrick Garland and do a deal. Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants to retire, and I think they should swap her out, give her an offer where they would put Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court.”

“They would remove a very liberal Democrat with a moderate, consensus Democrat, who I think Garland is,” Ruddy added. “And I think it would be a huge move and a sign for Trump that he’s willing to break through the political ice.”

So, the good news here is that Chris Ruddy is pretty close to the president, and if he can just manage to get this bee into Trump’s bonnet, it might consume a chunk of time that Trump would otherwise spend doing anything else. That would be a good enough outcome. But that’s about as far as this particular notion would ever go. You see, right off the bat, I can imagine some pretty significant impediments to this “deal.”

Let’s begin with the notion that “Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants to retire.” Does she? Just about every year, someone asks Ginsburg if she wants to retire, and her answer is always a resounding “Nah, son” (paraphrase). The last time anyone checked in with Ginsburg on this, it was Politico in October 2016. On that occasion, she said that she’d retire “when it’s time,” and clarified that it’d be “time” when she “can’t do the job full-steam.”

There’s been no indication that she’s changed her mind on this, so God knows where Ruddy is getting this “she wants to retire” stuff. Are you allowed to just pull strange assertions out of the air now and insist they’re true? Because Chris Ruddy really wants to run the Mariinsky Ballet. Someone should “do a deal” and bring their current artistic director, Valery Gergiev, to Newsmax.

Wow. I have to say, it felt pretty great to just make stuff up like that. And the good news is that my deal makes at least as much sense as the one Ruddy himself has proposed.

I’m having a hard time imagining how this deal would be brokered, or why Ginsburg would go along with it. By all accounts, she doesn’t seem to like Trump, and wouldn’t be inclined to even participate in this plan. What’s more, allowing herself to be replaced by Merrick Garland would be a singularly silly way for Ginsburg to cap off a legacy that’s been widely celebrated of late. Where’s the upside for Ginsburg? The thing about “deals” is that all parties involved are supposed to get some kind of benefit.

But, OK, let’s say that Ginsburg takes leave of her senses and agrees to this. Then we’d just have the thorny little problem that this is not how the process of replacing a Supreme Court Justice works. Remember how there’s this thing called “the Senate” and they just nuked the judicial filibuster, making it possible to confirm anyone to the Supreme Court with a simple majority? Well, this newly empowered Senate, which is run by the Republican Party, is not going to agree to a plan in which Merrick Garland joins the court.

Now, can I be so certain about that? Well, it’s true that all I have to go on is the fact that those same Republicans just spent a year of their lives keeping Garland off the Supreme Court ― an obscure gesture that received very little attention, to be sure ― but I just have this funny feeling they might prefer to fill any potential court vacancy with a really conservative justice, as opposed to a moderately liberal one.

But who knows? In a world where Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dealmaking to her historical detriment with a president she opposes, maybe everyone’s gone nuts to an equal degree. Maybe we swap out Justice Kennedy with a kitten wearing a top hat? In this weird world, I suppose anything is possible. I look forward to reading Justice Kitten With A Top Hat’s dissents.

The Huffington Post

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Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.  

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