SCOTUS Nominee Merrick Garland Is Obama's Sacrificial Lamb 'He is a prop, chosen to spend the next eight months as a prop' By Michael Harthorne, Newser Staff Posted Mar 16, 2016 6:08 PM CDT 117 comments Comments Federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland listens as President Barack Obama nominates him for the Supreme Court on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Newser) – It seems unlikely Republicans in Congress will give President Obama's Supreme Court nominee a hearing, and that's exactly the point, writes Slate's Jim Newell, who describes Merrick Garland as Obama's "rope-a-dope nominee." "He is a prop, chosen to spend the next eight months as a prop." Newell describes Garland as a "political lever" to use against Republicans, an actual nomination of whom would be "political malpractice" on the part of Obama. "He is too old, too unreliable, too much a creature of the statist center, and he brings no diversity to the bench. No offense." If it makes you feel better, Newell writes Garland is almost certainly aware of all of this. Instead of worrying about getting a fair hearing, Newell says Garland "should be commended" while he "takes the bullet" for the Supreme Court candidates Democrats actually want on the bench. Had any of those other choices been nominated, they would have been ruined as options by Republicans by the time the next Democratic president could get them an actual hearing. "We can reasonably ascertain that those nominees-in-waiting are privately thankful not to have been selected." Newell writes this strategy shows that Obama's time in office has made him less naive. "A centrist like Garland was someone that first-term Obama thought might earn Republicans’ respect. Now he is someone that second-term Obama knows will earn their irrational enmity." Read the full piece here.