Antonin Scalia had no business being a judge in any level of court, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go speaking ill of someone who just passed away. I believe that all life is precious (Scalia did not) so I’m sad that he’s dead.
With that out of the way, this really puts Republicans in a tough spot. You can safely ignore whatever the GOP Presidential candidates say about whether or not he he should be replaced after the 2016 election — they have no say in the matter. Only Rand Paul gets to vote on the next nominee and he has no more power over the process than that.
Here’s how this mess breaks down:
The next President won’t be sworn in until January of 2017, which means President Obama has nearly a full year left to nominate someone to replace Scalia and apparently the longest a nomination has gone before a vote is 125 days. Any call for him to abstain from nominating a replacement is asking him to neglect his constitutional obligation — and right — for nearly a full quarter of his second term. That’s absurd. Beyond denying President Obama is right to act, it’d be forcing the highest court in the country to exist in a 4-4 tie for nearly a year, denying justice to anyone who has a case heard that would end up in an affirmation tie (ties always result in upholding of the case that was appealed) because of political games from the Republican Party, rather than because a justice had to recuse themselves or some other legitimate reason that there can’t be a definitive ruling.
I don’t envy the position Republicans find themselves in, either. It’s untenable to stall this process for 11 months, and they don’t know who will win this fall. Their choices are an Obama nominee now which would give us a squishy liberal with fetishes for corporations and law enforcement, probably the same from Hillary Clinton, a strong conservative from Donald Trump, a psychopath conservative from Ted Cruz, or a truly liberal nominee from Bernie Sanders, which should care the shit out of them.
I doubt Trump can beat Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton which means the three choices are a mediocre liberal nominee now, probably if you wait until after the election, and maybe a real liberal for the first time in decades.
Good luck with that one, guys.
Lots of interesting bits of information flying by on Twitter. This is a big bit:
Anthony Kennedy was a Reagan appointee who sailed through a Democratic Senate in an election year
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) February 13, 2016