Utahns Want Merrick Garland Confirmed to the Supreme Court

Merrick GarlandAs various poll/prediction groups over the weekend rate Democrat Hillary Clinton as the likely next U.S. president, a new poll by UtahPolicy finds most Utahns want the U.S. Senate to confirm federal district court Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Pollster Dan Jones & Associates asked the same question on the new poll as he has previously this year:

Should Garland be confirmed now, should he be confirmed if Clinton wins the presidency (but before she would take office), don’t ever confirm Garland, or don’t know.

Well, the GOP-controlled Senate didn’t confirm Garland (or even give him a hearing) before adjourning for the election season weeks ago. 

The lame-duck Senate will come back into session after Tuesday’selection – with the same make-up as before.

So should the 2017 Senate be controlled by Democrats, with Clinton as president, it is likely she would send up a name for confirmation who could be more liberal than Garland – leading some Republicans to want Garland confirmed, believing he would be the best they could hope for in a U.S. Supreme Court justice for the next four years.

Jones finds:

  • 37 percent of Utahns say the current Senate should have confirmed Garland already.
  • 16 percent say confirm Garland if Clinton wins the presidency before she takes office.
  • 30 percent say Garland should never be confirmed, no matter what.
  • 18 percent don’t know.

So, add up “the confirm already vote” with the “confirm if Clinton wins vote,” and 53 percent of Utahns want some action on Garland before the end of the year (assuming Clinton wins the presidency Tuesday).


Of course, if Donald Trump wins Garland is history.

The current GOP-controlled Senate would not act on Garland before the end of the year, and Trump would make his own appointment after taking office in January.

If the Senate is still controlled by Republicans after Tuesday, that majority would likely confirm Trump’s pick.

If Democrats control the Senate (and that doesn’t appear likely if Trump wins, for Democrats would need another Democratic Senate victory to get to a 51-49 majority), then who knows how Trump and the Senate Democrats would reach agreement on a U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

Anyway, back to the new poll results:

  • 37 percent of Utah Republicans say Garland should be confirmed by the current Senate if Clinton wins the presidency.
  • 44 percent of Republicans say never confirm Garland, even if Clinton wins.
  • 19 percent of Republicans don’t know what to do.
  • 87 percent of Utah Democrats say confirm Garland, even if Clinton wins.
  • 5 percent say don’t confirm Garland, and 8 percent don’t know what to do.
  • 60 percent of political independents say confirm Garland, perhaps some worried about a Clinton nominee.
  • 23 percent say never confirm Garland, and 17 percent of independents don’t know what to do.

A few die-hard Republican U.S. senators are saying should Clinton win – and Republicans keep control of the Senate – NO Supreme Court nominee made by Clinton should ever be confirmed – not even over the next four years of her administration.

This is a remarkable stance to take – to deliberately deny a president a U.S. Supreme Court nomination – an act never seen in U.S. history before.

Now, that may not be the view of all, or even most, of the GOP senators. Clinton high court nominees with a GOP Senate may just be held up, and perhaps a few voted down before some nominee would be acceptable to most senators.

Jones finds that the more educated a Utahn is – that is, those with a four-year college degree or a post-graduate higher education degree – the more they want to see Garland confirmed to the high court.

Perhaps the more educated realize that it is better to get an Obama-nominated Garland on the court than to risk an unprecedented battle over a Clinton administration nominee.

  • 57 percent of those with a four-year college degree say Garland should be confirmed.
  • 36 percent said he shouldn’t be confirmed.
  • 63 percent of those with a post-graduate degree, like a Masters or Ph.D., medical doctor, lawyer or CPA, say Garland should be confirmed.

Soon we will know Garland’s fate, and whether he will receive a Senate hearing and vote in a lame-duck Congress.

Jones polled 818 Utahns from Oct. 12-20. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.43 percent.