Attorney Miguel Estrada says President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland “is astronomically qualified and should be confirmed” by the Republican-held Senate.
Estrada, who in 2001 was nominated by President George W. Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia but was filibustered by Senate Democrats and was not confirmed, appeared Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
“What do you make of the Republican strategy to just block?” host John Dickerson asked Estrada.
“Let me get started with my view, which is to say when the President puts somebody who is a qualified person the Senate should give him a hearing get him through,” Estrada said. “And I think that Garland is astronomically qualified and should be confirmed.”
Estrada explained that Majority Leader [crscore]Mitch McConnell[/crscore]’s strategy made sense prior to the nomination in order to force President Obama to nominate a candidate acceptable for the GOP.
“The strategy is a political strategy, and it made enormous sense for Leader McConnell to do before the announcement because it forced the White House to come to the table and put on the table the best qualified person that is the most attractive to the Republican Party,” he said.
However, since the current Republican presidential field is fractured, Estrada suggested McConnell’s strategy doesn’t make sense anymore.
“If the party were 20 points ahead in the polls and we were united behind a Republican nominee who was clearly conservative the strategy might continue to make sense — everybody knows that that’s not the case.”
“When we come to the primaries in June and it’s clear that at best we’re going to have a messy contested convention, I think there will be a number of Republican senators who will take second look at this and say, ‘You know, it’s a high quality person, we should give him a hearing and confirm him,'” Estrada said.