The Buzz

TheChat: Republican calls for hearings on Merrick Garland should Hillary Clinton win presidency


Good morning.

▪ “If Hillary Clinton is president-elect then we should move forward with hearings in the lame duck. That's what I'm encouraging my colleagues to do.” — Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican, saying it’s time to launch confirmation hearings on Merrick Garland to the U.S Supreme Court.

The thinking: Take Garland now because Hillary Clinton might nominate a more liberal justice assuming she becomes president.

▪ “They go from having their branch of the service know everything about them to all of a sudden being treated like a stranger who has to apply to the VA.” — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander on the need to make changes to the VA.

One change Kander advocates: Improve the flow of records from the military to the Veterans Affairs Department. Kander, who is running against Republican Roy Blunt, is a veteran himself. (link via

▪ “To some extent, it has diffused the issue because it suggests to the public that at least some Democrats are comfortable with gun rights.” — MU political scientist Peverill Squire on the fact that some key Democrats are being seen with guns this campaign season and even winning endorsements from the NRA.

Squire’s point: Republicans may no longer own the gun issue.

▪ “I have not tried a case since I got to the prosecutor’s office. The office was such a mess that it took me 22 months to get 18 people working together.” — Democrat Teresa Hensley, the candidate for Missouri attorney general, speaking about her predecessor as Cass County attorney, Chris Koster, in a 2006 video clip.

Hensley has since walked back those comments, pointing out that at the time, Hensley and Koster were in different political parties. Republican Eric Greitens, Koster’s opponent for governor this year, has called the remarks a “scathing indictment of Koster’s time in office.”