SCOTUS

Fox News Warns GOP: Merrick Garland Is a ‘Political Trap’

In the right-leaning network’s first reaction to Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, hosts warned Republicans not to dismiss Merrick Garland so quickly.

03.16.16 7:02 PM ET

Before President Obama was even finished announcing his pick to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had confirmed that he has no intention of even holding a vote to confirm or deny D.C. Circuit Court Judge Merrick Garland.

But Republican lawmakers or their constituents who listened to the conservative commentators on Fox News’ Outnumbered early this afternoon may think twice about letting go of this chance to get an older, moderate judge on the bench before it’s too late.

After commending McConnell for refusing to budge on his no-vote stance, Andrea Tantaros stopped just short of praising President Obama for his politically savvy pick. Since Merrick Garland “prosecuted right-wing extremists in Oklahoma City,” she argued the Obama is “capitalizing”  on division within the Republican Party and predicted that the president will accuse “allegedly violent Trump supporters” of exacting payback for that prosecution.

“He knows that attack is coming,” Tantaros continued. “I believe it is political trap. He’s going to capitalize on division of the right and make himself look reasonable and bipartisan and media will ride shotgun on the entire thing.”

On the other side, liberal contributor Julie Roginsky, describing Garland as a “moderate” justice in the mold of Anthony Kennedy, said Republicans “better be darn sure that Donald Trump will win and that they’re going to hold their Senate majority.” Because if Hillary Clinton becomes president and the Senate flips, she will appoint a younger, more openly liberal justice and the GOP will be “begging” for Garland back.

“There’s the trap,” Tantaros agreed.

If there is a “trap,” then co-host Melissa Francis promptly fell into it, making an argument that appeared far more reasonable that anything coming out of Capitol Hill.

“I think you’re all absolutely right, this is a trap,” Francis said. “It is a political move laid out by President Obama, so why not call him on his bluff?” She described Garland as a “completely reasonable candidate who both sides like.” And especially because he is “older than most of the people that would be nominated,” the GOP should go ahead and confirm him.

“You know that it is killing President Obama to not appoint someone who is more in line with his own personal thinking,” she continued. “I mean this man is moderate. Call his bluff, go ahead. put him through the motions, put him on the court. I can think of nothing more disappointing to the Left. I think Republicans are making a huge mistake and take him up on his offer and take his candidate because like you said, I mean if they don't, they could really, really regret it down the road.”

“That is what they’re banking on,” Tantaros said of Democrats. “They're banking on Republicans doing what they always do.” She predicted the GOP would “take the bait” and block Garland, giving Democrats a political victory in the process. “Politics always wins and this White House does it better than anyone,” she added later, giving Obama a rare, if backhanded, compliment.

“They just checkmated Republicans if Republicans continue to block this nominee.”

“Take the cash now, because behind Door Number Two is Hillary Clinton’s young, liberal appointee,” Roginsky agreed.