Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died today, apparently in his sleep.
Scalia's death has huge implications. Not only did it happen in the middle of a Supreme Court term but his death could give President Obama the opportunity to appoint a replacement and shift the balance of power. However, Republicans are already signaling that they will stall any nomination until after the presidential election.
I’m sorry for his family and friends but I’m glad he’s no longer on the court.
Or picking an honest to god liberal of the Clarence Darrow mold for SCOTUS. The latter would be futile, but it would feel good.
I think the Republicans’ opposition to the President nominating a judge to the SCOTUS will blow up in their face on election day if they successfully block his/her confirmation. That would get a lot more reluctant Democrats and moderates out to vote this November. Could you imagine what a Trump or Cruz nominee to the SCOTUS would be like?
Fair and balanced propaganda.
Eyes is correct that Fox News is attempting to lionize Scalia. The reason they are doing this is that Scalia is considered one of Reagan’s greatest accomplishments as President by the right wing. An unabashedly, openly confrontational right wing judge appointed to the SC for life at a relatively young age, and staying there for 30 years. The right wing couldn’t have asked for more from Scalia. He delivered what they wanted in generous amounts.
That’s in comparison to Sandra Day O’Connor, who wasn’t far enough to the right for their tastes. And in comparison to Anthony Kennedy, who the right wing always resented having to settle for, when the guy they’d wanted was Robert Bork. It was the success of getting Scalia onto the court that emboldened them into thinking they could a completely inappropriate person like Bork onto the highest bench. When they failed in such a spectacular fashion, the right wing began nursing a fury that hasn’t subsided, even 30 years later.
Doesn’t mean he wasn’t an intelligent person, or that he wasn’t approachable by his colleagues. I find it especially interesting that he was so friendly with both Ginsburg and Kagan. But we can’t forget the actual material he contributed while at the SC.
As for Clarence Thomas, I’m sure he’ll continue to do just what he’s been doing for the past 25 years or so – not a whole lot.
Life and liberty are fundamental freedoms spelled out in our foundational Declaration of Independence. How ironic then ‘origionalist’ Scalia showed little sympathy for those unjustly executed. Just as odd for a freedom lover, he used pro slavery laws, in part, to justify his right-wing position on immigration. Scalia was also badly confused on freedom of religion thinking our laws are based upon the 10 Commandments. Any literate adult can read the 10 Commandments to ascertain the many contradictions there.
I don’t point these things to spit on the guy’s grave before his corpse is cold. But Fox is clearly doing right-wing populist mythmaking. Scalia is about to become the Reagan of the Supreme Court. Pure bulls—t and a disservice to its conservative viewers. 👎
As if they give a damn about “the American people.”
Remember in 2000 how they said Gore should concede “for the good of the country?” Same BS, different decade.
The reality is that President Obama will nominate the next Justice within the next three weeks, most likely. The Senate will then have this nomination in their hands as of March. If the GOP decides to just sit on the nomination for the following year, they will face appropriate criticism for their obstinence. If they don’t wish to face that criticism, they can do their jobs and actually review the nominee.
FAIR has put out a good analysis of what happened during the Johnson, Nixon and Reagan administrations when controversial judges encountered trouble in this process. Yes, Abe Fortas was filibustered and then pressured to resign by incoming President Nixon. Who then tried to appoint two completely unacceptable justices. After both went down to defeat, Nixon came back with Blackmun, who sailed through and became a fine addition to the SC. Reagan of course tried to get away with putting Bork on the court, and that spectacularly failed. So he tried again with Douglas Ginsburg, but failed again. And he wound up with Anthony Kennedy, who is a primarily conservative judge but usually not a hardline one.
I note that Kennedy has actually ruled to the right of John Roberts, including his stance on the 2012 GOP attempt to kill the ACA. The notion of Kennedy as a swing vote means that the centerline of the court had shifted several yards to the right of center by the time he was given that mantle in the mid-2000s.
David Souter was more of a stealth candidate, which many left-wing writers took to mean that he was really a hawk. I still remember Larry Bensky attacking Souter at the time of his nomination – Bensky would later say he did so based on his distrust of the Bush people and particularly of John Sununu, who recommended Souter. Turned out that Souter was a straight-up independent. I wouldn’t call him liberal so much as an individual thinker. But again, the centerline of the court has shifted over the decades so much that Souter’s independent thought now appears as liberal – which it is when you compare it to the much harder lines drawn by people like Samuel Alito and former Rehnquist clerk John Roberts.
The last time we had a real conflict over an SC nomination was Clarence Thomas, and it was at the moment that the court really moved to the right. Because Thomas was replacing Thurgood Marshall, who had been a lion of the court for decades. Marshall had hung on for years, presumably waiting for a Democrat president to name his replacement, but in summer 1991, it was thought that Bush was unstoppable for re-election the following year. Marshall knew he didn’t have much time left, and chose to step down at that moment – he would only live to see President Clinton inaugurated before passing away, meaning that if he’d stayed on, he would literally have worked up to the moment of his death. The fact that Bush nominated Thomas to replace Marshall was an intentional slap in the face to the left and to Democrats. And by making the openly right wing Thomas the successor to Marshall, Bush was able to tilt the court decidedly to the right, thus resulting in the conservative court we have today.
There’s another trend that was really worked by the Reagan people and onward – which was to appoint younger right wing justices. The idea was to put an Antonin Scalia on the court in 1986 and have him on the highest bench for 30 years, if they could manage it. Scalia was 50 when he was appointed. Kennedy was 51. Souter was 51. Thomas was 43. By contrast, Clinton’s appointees were older. Breyer was 56. Bader Ginsburg was 60. W Bush went back to the earlier playbook with his first appointment. Roberts was 50 when appointed as Chief Justice, something that Scalia had likely hoped for but had to live without. Alito was older, coming in at 55. For Barack Obama, he had Sotomayor at 54 and then Kagan at 50, thus the youngest of the Dem nominees in decades.
For years, the political game has been for the right wing to maintain its tilt by having their jurists stay on as long as possible, thus being able to weather several Democrat presidencies and then retire during the next GOP reign. At the same time, the less conservative justices have had to wait for a Democrat president, lest the balance of the court be tipped even farther over. I note that through the 90s and particularly the 2000s, the right wing has attempted to rush cases up to this Supreme Court in the hopes that they would get massive defining right wing rulings on subjects like abortion, equal protection, unions, etc. Some right wing state legislatures have deliberately created objectionable laws, just to get a case up to this Supreme Court.
So now we arrive at a moment where the right wing realizes they are about to have the court tilt back toward the center. We’re not even talking about going to the left. Just to the center. They were all too happy to be able to get their tilt back during Reagan’s presidency – when he appointed THREE justices (something that they are now insisting President Obama has no right to do). So how do they respond? They try to rewrite the rules and hide behind “the American people”. They may succeed in yet another form of obstruction, but in the long run, they will still have to deal with the fact that Ted Cruz will not be appointing the next Supreme Court justice, much as he or they may dream otherwise.
No one is cheering or grieving his death unless you knew the man personally. The cheers and tears are what the man represented on his political beliefs which he based his judgements on.
So the news network (and mouth organ for the Republican Party) which constantly bashes Obama as a divider who refuses to work with the GOP is in open revolt saying the Senate should refuse to cooperate with Obama in replacing Scalia. 👍
If Obama was smart, he’d find an uncontroversial moderate with little surface area for Republicans to attack without looking like hopeless ideologues. Unfortunately, in these hyper-partisan times I expect both sides to try to make partisan points and us witnessing another ugly political civil war.
I hope Good King Barack keeps the faith and nominates a worthwhile, youngish liberal, without any thought for what may or may not be acceptable to the R-souls on the extreme right, the lunatic right or the off-the-planet looney toons and bigots want. There is absolutely no doubt that Hillary will cruise in, and with an ounce of luck, plenty of D’s will come in on her trouser suit-tails.
The Donald may have an answer that I am afraid will be premature to counting on the republican party implosion.
(Just on the off chance people don’t get that, the first part is a reference to the current TV show, “Lucifer.”)
While Roberts is more likely to stick to partisanship, I think Kennedy’s more likely to actually look at the merits of the case in front of him rather than be a “reliable right-wing vote.”
My expectation is that some of the GOP Senators will do everything they can to gum up the works and thus throw this to the next President. They get a two-fer from from it. 1. They deny President Obama the ability to appoint a third justice and potentially move the court back to the center. 2. If they get lucky and somehow get someone like Jeb Bush into office, they can appoint another Scalia or Alito and keep up their situation. Also, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg steps down next year, they’d get the added bonus that they could move the dial farther over to the hard right.
It’s interesting that Lee’s staff is trying to cite the Strom Thurmond Rule. Except that they forgot to read it, or note that most GOP Senators don’t hold to it. (Thurmond gummed up the works on LBJ’s attempt to move Abe Fortas up to Chief Justice in 1968, saying that this should never be allowed during the final 6 months of a lame duck presidency.) The thing here is that Obama still has 11 months left, not 6, and there is not a full Supreme Court able to hear cases in October.
I bet Fox News and Rush Limbaugh are frantically looking up precedents to see if they can get away with advocating for this obstruction.