What is your objective assessment of the handling of the Garland nomination, how ethical do you think it was and should republicans try to have a consistent precedent going forward based on that. How soon is too soon?
I can only tell you how I felt about it at the time. I wont BS you and claim any more objectivity than any other poster here.
At the time I supported how Mitch McConnell handled the nomination. I felt that the whole "Biden Rule" thing was just OK, but honestly not important. While it was convenient, it really wasn't relevant for me. I felt that the way that Harry Reid had ruled as the Senate Majority Leader from 2007 to 2015 set all the tone and precedents that the Republicans needed to sink the Garland nomination. I wont list all of the things that Harry Reid did that poisoned any hope for any bipartisanship for the next 20 years, because I don't feel the need to convince you - but I will provide a few gems. Suffice it to say, that after those 8 years there was never going to be any hope of any cooperation from the Republicans. Its a fact.
Harry Reid will go down as the worst senator in the history of the republic - in my opinion. Here are a few highlights of how he set the stage for the current situation:
1) The Senate under Harry Reid did not pass a budget at any time during the 4 years from 2010 to 2013. This was pure politics and it was purely for political advantage. He actually went three entire years without ever allowing a vote on a budget. These were years of massive deficits. the federal budget deficit for 2011 alone was $1.3 trillion. 2012 was $1.1 trillion. That trillion with a T.
2) In 2013 Harry Reid used a parliamentary move to change the rules in the Senate so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote super majority that has been the standard for nearly four decades. The recent idea of changing the Senate rules to meet one party's short term goals started with the Democrats and Harry Reid. Now you are just reaping what they sowed.
3) During the 2012 presidential election - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stood in the well of the Senate and accused then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of having not paid any taxes over the past decade. This was proven to be a lie. But it didn't matter to any democrat, and while it wasn't the only reason why Romney lost, it really did hurt him. It also set the stage for the current environment. Why should I give a shit if Trump pisses you off? None of that seemed to matter to the democrats when the Senate Majority Leader was lying ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE to win an election.
4) During the 2016 presidential election Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid advocated very publicly that the CIA should lie to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and give him fake intel briefings.
All of these actions by one of the most senior Democratic leaders are despicable and set the stage for the poisoned situation we have today. Few if any Republicans give a rats ass if any democrat is upset about the consequences.
So - to directly answer your question - given the ethical environment set up by the Democrats when they were in the majority of the Senate, YES the Garland nomination was handled within the ethical norms of the last 8 years.