The outgoing president has one final trump card—and he
should play it. There is one action that Obama could take on January 3, 2017
that could hold off some of the worst potential abuses of a Trump
administration for up to a year. Obama can appoint his nominee to the Supreme
Court on that date, in between the two sessions of Congress.
Based on everything we know about Obama’s temperament and politics, he won’t resort to this. But given how Republicans relentlessly obstructed his efforts for eight years, he would be completely justified in playing one final trump card. And there’s a cost to ignoring that card and if unused, President Obama should bear full responsibility for 2017 SCOTUS split decisions that pushes policymaking apparatus of the country to the right.