The Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died recently. He was the longest serving justice on the bench sworn in during the Regan era in 1986. He was a symbol of conservative thought known for his belief that all rulings should be guided by the words of the Constitution as it was drafted so no updating for modern interpretations. His death poses some mystery although no one seems to be crying any foul play. He was found dead with a pillow over his head in a hunting ranch in Texas reportedly from natural causes even though no autopsy is being ordered to be done to confirm that statement that was immediately released to all.
He was 79 years old and word of his passing hit Washington D.C. like a fire ball immediately stirring up all kinds of controversy even before the guy could have decent last respects and a burial. All the candidates are commenting on how the court could change without his vote. The sitting Republican Party majority in the Senate is commenting on how things shouldn’t change. The Constitution clearly states that the sitting President can nominate the next Justice. Obama is our sitting President for another year and he said that he will find a replacement. The successor needs to be confirmed by the United States Senate. Within one hour of confirmation of Scalia’s death the Senate Leader wasted no time to publically state that as usual he will not approve anyone President Obama wants to appoint.
Mitch O’Connell said he would block any nominee from this President. He wants to wait on the matter until we have a new President. We have never had this problem before of a government majority always being against the sitting President in all kinds of voting compounded by a circus like atmosphere of the candidates. They fear that President Obama will appoint yet another liberal person to the lifetime job. So, who will he appoint? Some say at the top of his list is Sri Srinivasan, a 48 year old D.C. Circuit Judge who was at the time unanimously confirmed by the Senate. Another possibility is Merrick Garland who is 63 years old, A Chief Judge of D.C. Circuit Court. He is a widely respected moderate whose name floated as a possible nominee before. Then there is 52 year old Patricia Millett who is also from the D.C. Circuit Court.
The 8 remaining Supreme Court Justices are scheduled to return from their winter break this week and are facing a docket filled with controversial issues including abortion, contraception, unions, voting rights and immigration issues. Justice Scalia’s death means that the highest court in our nation no longer has a tie-breaking vote. If the 8 remaining Justices are split on a decision,that means that the lower court ruling will stand. Most people bring their cases to the Supreme Court because they are dis-satisfied with the lower court’s ruling. In the case of fairness to all issues, it is important that our current President hires someone quickly no matter the issue. They deserve that their issues should be heard by 9 Justices/