Kasich Quickly Changes Mind About Obama's Court Nominee

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is chiding fellow Republicans for their refusal even to meet with President Barack Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
by | March 21, 2016 AT 1:00 PM

By Randy Ludlow

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is chiding fellow Republicans for their refusal even to meet with President Barack Obama's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But, he quickly reversed course on whether he would nominate Merrick Garland.

In interviews taped for this morning's broadcasts of Face the Nation on CBS and Meet the Press on NBC, the GOP presidential candidate said he would consider nominating Garland to the high court if he wins the Oval Office.

But, Kasich changed his mind later Saturday, telling reporters after a town hall in Utah that he had concerns with Garland's record on guns.

"In an effort to be polite today, apparently I've created a little bit of a situation. Look, you know, Garland's -- I'm going have my own picks for Supreme Court. You know, the fact is, I said that they ought to meet him and talk to him, and I'm not going to pick somebody who's, you know, obviously not a respecter of the Second Amendment.

"I don't want people making law and so nobody should be confused, worked up or upset. He's not going to be my pick for the Supreme Court," Kasich said.

While not part of the three-judge federal appellate panel that ruled on the case, Garland unsuccessfully called for the full court to reconsider a 2007 decision that invalidated a handgun ban in Washington, D.C.

The Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, including Ohio's Rob Portman, is refusing to consider Garland, saying the next president -- not the Democrat Obama -- should nominate the replacement for the late Antonin Scalia.

"I never thought the president should send it because I knew nothing was going to happen," Kasich said on Face the Nation before his Utah remarks. "Frankly, they probably ought to all sit down and meet with the guy."

"Well, you know, he received you know overwhelming support, I think even from Senator (Orrin) Hatch, so of course we'd think about it," Kasich said of Garland, chief judge of the federal appeals court in the District of Columbia.

"The way we do it ... is we look at a person's record. I want a conservative who's not going to make the law but who will interpret the law and somebody of high standing."

Kasich made the rounds of four of the five major Sunday morning TV political talk shows.

On Meet the Press on NBC, a bemused Kasich said in a recorded interview that "under no circumstances" would he be the vice presidential nominee to the front running Donald Trump. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz? " Absolutely not," Kasich said.

Kasich is a distant third in the GOP presidential race, but is pressing on in hopes he and Cruz can deny Trump the delegates needed to secure the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. Kasich says he would emerge with the nomination at a brokered convention.

On CNN's State of the Union, Kasich said neither Trump nor Cruz will secure enough delegates, who will consider experience and electability -- who can beat likely Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton -- in selecting a nominee. Kasich says he is the only candidate who can beat Clinton.

"Why is everybody panicked about this?" Kasich asked. "Everybody needs to take a little chill pill ..."

On Face the Nation, Kasich also stressed that the GOP nominee at an open convention would be chosen on the "crazy consideration" of a record in elective office and the ability to win the general election.

"Nobody is calling me directly and asking me to drop out. Why don't they drop out? I'm the one who can win in the fall," he said.

(c)2016 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)