Just one point to add to Charlie’s “what has conservatism done?” argument, and the related complaint, “what did all that effort to elect a GOP Senate in the midterms do for us?”… If the GOP hadn’t won the Senate in 2014, we would be looking at near-automatic confirmation for Supreme Court Justice Eric Holder, or whichever progressive Obama deems most desirable.
Yes, a GOP Senate minority could attempt to filibuster Obama’s nomination… and Senate Democrats could exercise the nuclear option and eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. Harry Reid already nuked the filibuster for non-Supreme Court judicial nominations in 2013.
We don’t know how this confirmation fight is going to shake out, but the worst-case scenario, replacing Antonin Scalia with a reliable progressive “living Constitution” jurist, looks pretty unlikely right now. You would have to get five Republican senators to vote for a Ginsburg or Sotomayor-type. Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are probably the five members of the GOP Senate caucus most likely to feel pressure to vote “yes.” But if any of them voted to confirm an Obama appointee, they would trigger a furious primary challenge.