A lot of liberals are saying the treatment of Brett Kavanaugh—even before this latest stunt—was merely payback for the Republican refusal to give Merrick Garland a hearing in 2016.
Here we should pause to note an important fact. The Senate majority was entirely within its constitutional prerogatives not to take up the nomination, and insist the matter become part of the voters’ judgment in the November election. But there’s a deeper point here that everyone is missing: Once the Republican majority decided it would not take up Garland’s nomination in 2016, Garland’s fate was sealed. He was never going to make it to the Supreme Court. There were then two ways Garland would not make it to the Supreme Court. The first was if Trump won the election. The second way Garland would not have ended up on the Supreme Court is if Hillary had won the election.
Think about it for a moment. When asked on the campaign trail several times if she would re-nominate Garland if she won, Hillary declined to answer. She also declined to make Garland an issue on the campaign trail. It was widely assumed that Hillary wanted to keep her options open to nominate someone younger and further to the left than Garland. This is just another item in Hillary’s overall political incompetence, because the Court issue broke very strongly in Trump’s favor on election day. She might have made Garland’s treatment an effective issue for herself and some Democratic Senate candidates. (Democratic obstruction of Bush judicial nominees played a role in some of the 2004 Senate election contests.)
In other words, Garland should be understood as a casualty of Democratic Party cynicism as much as Republican opposition. Hillary’s incompetence is just a bonus.
Chaser: What is the over/under line on Anita Hill turning up in the Senate Judiciary Committee room on Monday?