How might the standoff between the President and the Senate Judiciary Committee over the Supreme Court vacancy play out? One of the illuminati of the Laquedemimonde forwarded to me this interesting article in Washington Monthly which lays out three ways (one being a recess appointment) in which the Democrats could escalate the war and the Republicans could riposte. The writer concludes by asking, with a bit of forlorn hopefulness, that the members of the Senate simply grow up and act their age.
Which outcomes are possible depends on which party captures the White House and on whether the Republicans keep control of the Senate, and it is here that the author misses a possibility. The author plays out what might occur if Secretary Clinton wins the election and faces a Republican Senate, but overlooks what might happen if (say) Mr. Trump wins the election but the voters give control of the Senate to the Democrats. The delightful wrinkle here is that incoming senators take office on January 3, but the new president won't take office until January 20. So it's possible that from January 3 to January 19 the Democratic party will hold both the White House and the Senate. As the majority party the Democrats could perhaps amend the Senate rules to restrict the filibuster for judicial nominees (the rules are opaque to me on this point), leading to the delightful possibility that next January 3, as President-elect Trump (substitute your own favorite Republican if you wish) is pondering whom he will nominate to the vacant seat, President Obama sends in his nomination. The Senate Judiciary Committee, under its new leadership, waives hearings and on a January 4 party line vote sends her nomination to the full Senate, where a simple majority is sufficient to confirm her. I say "her" because I can envision the President, in this extreme circumstance, nominating Hillary Clinton. The timing could work out for her to be the first justice to take office in the Trump administration.