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Morning Reads: Will the GOP Hold Its Ground on Obama’s SCOTUS Pick?

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Will the GOP Hold Its Ground on Obama's SCOTUS Pick?

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) talks to members of the media March 16, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama has nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to succeed the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Meet Merrick Garland –> President Obama has chosen Merrick Garland, the 63-year-old head judge of the DC circuit court, to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Lincoln Caplan has a profile of Garland at The New Yorker.

In the event that the current Republican-majority Senate stunned the world and decided to confirm Garland, his tenure on the court would unlikely be as long as that of younger judges Obama reportedly was vetting. He is white, male and an Ivy League graduate — not representative of the president’s goal of diversifying the bench.

And he is a moderate, widely respected and personally well-liked by many in Washington, including some of those same Republicans who already have pledged to deny any nominee a hearing. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), for example, has been an outspoken supporter of Garland, endorsing him for the circuit court bench in 1997 — and griping just last week that the president would not be sensible enough to name such a moderate. “By nominating Garland, Obama has put Republicans like Hatch on their back foot,” Alex Shephard writes at New Republic. “They’ll argue that this is about process — about waiting for the American people to decide. Obama’s nomination of Garland is a transparently political maneuver that shows just how transparently political his opponents are being.”

Linda Greenhouse, a longtime Court watcher, writes at The New York Times that, in memory of Robert Bork, the conservative Reagan appointee Democrats refused to confirm in 1987, the GOP is sending a message to Democrats: “You did it to one of ours, so now we’ll do it to one of yours. Really? To Merrick B. Garland, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, who after two decades on the bench is one of the country’s most respected and experienced federal judges?”

At ThinkProgress, Samantha Page looks at what Garland would mean for the environment, should he somehow make it through the confirmation process. And we take a look at how he might vote on a challenge to Citizens United.

Incitement –> Donald Trump is taking reports of a brokered convention seriously. In an interview with CNN yesterday, he warned that the Republican convention in Cleveland this July might see “riots” if the party decides to install another candidate. Maggie Haberman at The New York Times has more.

AND: Paul Ryan says he isn’t going to let the party install him as the nominee at a contested convention. BUT MEANWHILE: “A member of the Republican National Committee’s Rules Committee said Wednesday that the party will decide who the GOP nominee will be, not the voters. ‘The media has created the perception that the voters will decide the nomination,’ Curly Haugland said in an interview with CNBC. ‘That’s the conflict here.'” Via The Hill.

Doomed –> Politico covers a report from The Economist’s Global Forecasting Service that ranks Trump as one of ten potential global risks facing the world economy: “Other risks include a sharp slowdown in the Chinese economy, a fracture of the Eurozone, and Britain’s possible departure from the European Union.” A Trump presidency would “a godsend to terrorist recruiters in the Middle East.”

Laughing all the way to the bank –> CBS head Les Moonves often has spoken about how a nasty presidential campaign is great for his corporation’s bottom line. At the LA Times, Michael Hiltzik says we may want to take a closer look at what that sort of attitude means for our democracy: “It’s tempting to dismiss observations about TV’s business model as business as usual. Don’t all commercial entities try to maximize their revenues, whatever the public consequences? Well, yes. But the public has a right to keep those instincts in check; that’s why we have clean-air regulations and banking rules, which aim to counteract the imperatives of a pure market economy when they harm the public welfare. And broadcasters long were considered to play more than a purely commercial role.”

Bad water, water everywhere –> The disaster in Flint prompted an investigation by Gannett newspapers finding that over the past four years, nearly 2,000 water systems in all 50 states documented excessive levels of lead. Alison Young and Mark Nichols report, “The water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people. About 350 of those systems provide drinking water to schools or day cares.” Of those, 180 didn’t notify those who were drinking the water.

New York’s human rights disaster –> Not only is New York City’s Rikers Island jail the site of inhumane detention practices, it’s also prone to flooding and built on a sinking landfill. Raven Rakia has this longread for Grist.

Bad ink –> Jordan Sargent at Gawker: “Last night, PBS NewsHour ran a story on the Tilly family of Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Tillys do not have a history of being active in politics, but various members of the family—both old and young—are being motivated to vote or work for a campaign for the first time by Donald Trump. If you can put aside the fact that the Tillys are rallying behind Trump, this is a small but almost heartwarming story of a family choosing to engage with democracy. That’s also if you can put aside the fact that Grace, one of the central characters in the story, has large white power tattoos on each of her hands.”

Morning Reads was written by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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