Garland by various measurements done when he was nominated to the Supreme Court by then-President Obama was a moderate. At best, or worst depending on your view, he was moderate-to-liberal. His record as a judge, the clerks he hired and other measurements used make him a solid moderate. Yes, he was nominated by the liberal Obama but it’s not certain how he would have voted on issues that came before the Court.
Then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Garland’s appointment not because he was certain that Garland would vote to maintain abortion as a right, but because he knew Garland would vote based on the law. Roe v. Wade was settled law just as nearly every Republican nominee has led the Senate and the country to believe they thought too.
And this Supreme Court, dominated by Trump appointees but wholly supported and recommended by McConnell, voted to end that right to abortion based on the views of right-wing conservatives who fought years to have it taken away and his religious base which supposedly wants abortions banned in all forms, even incest.
Just ask Republican Sen. Susan Collins what she thought the Trump nominees were testifying to in their hearings. She’ll tell you but then won’t do anything different in the future or say the nominees lied to her face in private in meetings in her office. She treated it as an oops not as a decision that already has had significant impact on women and their health.
But Garland is cut from a different cloth. With his leadership, the Justice Department is doing its talking on the issues involving Trump through court filings, which must be truthful. Trump, on the other hand, has made Truth Social statements and had his spokesmen speak for him but Trump, throughout his career, is normally very careful about what he says so he is not responsible for anything.
This time, though, because he reacted, as always, politically, not legally, he blew it. Not only did his lawyers admit in a court filing that he had classified documents but Trump posted this on his Twitter-like Truth Social:
“There seems to be confusion as to the ‘picture’ where documents were sloppily thrown on the floor and then released photographically for the world to see, as if that’s what the FBI found when they broke into my home. Wrong! They took them out of cartons and spread them around on the carpet, making it look like a big 'find' for them. They dropped them, not me - Very deceiving…And remember, we could have NO representative, including lawyers, present during the Raid. They were told to wait outside.”
Read it again and you’ll not only see his admission of guilt but that his mind, rather than understanding he was admitting to breaking a law involving highly secret government documents, went straight to “I don’t keep a messy office. They set me up.”
Donald Trump, meet truth. Truth, meet Donald Trump.
So, he admitted he had the classified documents in his unsecured mansion. Case Closed. Or is it?
Garland must weigh whatever more evidence his department has before indicting a former President. It is not a no-brainer, as it appears to many non-lawyers.
Garland will consider the facts, not that Trump could send his supporters back into insurrection mode as Sen. Lindsay Graham threatened the other day but because it would set a precedent for charging former presidents with crimes. That decision must meet a very high bar before any charge can be brought.
I know many people have read about what’s going on and believe Trump is guilty of serious crimes but that is not a court of law, where evidence must be submitted and witnesses interrogated and cross-examined. It better be one air-tight case to convince a jury that Trump, or any future president, committed serious crimes.
Only because he is the President now, Joe Biden will be the target if Republicans take over the House and especially if they also take the Senate. Not because Biden has broken any laws, but because the Republicans who now run that party don’t care about facts or the truth. They say it, therefore it is true.
And their media lackeys repeat it. And repeat it. And then a solid portion of their voters believe it. Therefore, they all will expect payback when Republicans are in that position.
That’s not Garland’s style. He’s a “just the facts, ma’am” kind of guy. When the investigation is done, we’ll see what he does.
Garland has a very heavy and historic decision to make. And he knows it.
And Donald Trump is one lucky guy that Merrick Garland is the one making it.