When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died, President Obama quickly nominated a replacement. Controversy ensued — it was a big deal inside the Beltway and almost entirely unnoticed elsewhere — when Republicans refused to respond in any way to his pick of Judge Merrick Garland.

The political classes, who follow procedure closely and often lose touch with reality, claimed wildly that this obstruction would damage Republicans (as though they really wanted to prevent that). One Los Angeles Times columnist said, “polarization around this issue could put Republican senators in a no-win position.” Others made wilder claims. Republicans countered that Joe Biden, as a senator, argued that the Senate should avoid considering Supreme Court nominations under these exact circumstances.

Eight months later, it’s clear voters don’t care two hoots and Republicans have paid no price. Those voters who’ve heard of Garland are thinking of the Texas town where a terrorist attack was thwarted in May 2015.

Chuck Grassley, Senate judiciary chairman, who refused to hold hearings on Garland, is cruising to re-election, despite it being a difficult election cycle for other Republicans. Even GOP lawmakers thought likely to lose, don’t seem to be suffering from this issue.

One sign of how unimportant it has been is that Democratic partisans have tried so hard to gin it up for their base, ludicrously suggesting that the Senate’s sluggishness on nominees suddenly is racist — the accusation against anyone who opposes Obama, whether it be for any issue from healthcare or stimulus spending, to solar energy subsidies and tax policy. Never mind that Obama himself, then a senator, voted to filibuster President George W. Bush’s last Supreme Court nominee just 10 short years ago. Was that because Bush is white?

Fortunately, some minds remain unbefuddled by partisan issues. Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Clinton in 1994, made it plain that the court’s vacancy does not mean the sky is falling.

Appearing on “Morning Joe” on Monday, Breyer was asked if dangers attended the fact that a seat on the bench remains empty. He pointed out that the Supreme Court splits along ideological lines in a mere handful of decisions. He estimated that only four or five of more than 70 cases in the past year were decided 5-4. He added that is by no means the first time a tie vote on the court has been possible.

“The mechanics [in a court with an even number of members] works about the same,” he told co-host Mika Brzezinski. “You have the Court, when it began at the time of the Constitution’s writing, it had six members. It had ten members after the Civil War.” Breyer also mentioned that “half of our cases are unanimous.”

It’s also worth adding that tie-vote Supreme Court cases don’t result in legal anarchy. They simply uphold decisions reached in the lower courts.

Donald Trump could sink House Republicans in California

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Republican insiders say Trump’s unpopularity in California now threatens to crater their party down ballot.

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A legal challenge to this election is highly unlikely, no matter how clumsily Donald Trump has sought to keep open avenues for contesting an unfavorable result.

The lesson of the non-issue of Merrick Garland is that, again, the it was not a disaster that a particular president didn’t get his way on everything. This is a good lesson for those liberals who decided upon Obama’s election that the presidency became the only important office in American government, and did much to undermine the others.

Press grudgingly admits Obamacare price increases

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For some, the news wasn’t worth covering at all.

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