The Next Six Years

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Ed Kilgore wants liberals to lower their expectations, because he thinks the House is likely to stay Republican and the Senate could very easily go Republican too. One thing he doesn’t mention: Even if a second-term Obama faces a Republican Congress liberals could still make serious progress (on their terms) in the courts.

But how a Republican Senate would handle a Democratic Supreme Court nomination is hard to predict. No president’s nominee has had to win confirmation from a Senate controlled by the other party since 1991 (when Clarence Thomas ran the gauntlet). But the better comparison may be to 1987, when the opposition party had just taken back the Senate and sank the Bork nomination.

A trivia question for our commenters: When’s the last time a Democratic president nominated a Supreme Court justice for confirmation by a Republican Senate?