As many of you might be aware, Justice Antonin Scalia, who sat on the Supreme Court since the time of Ronald Reagan, passed away suddenly in his sleep a couple days ago. While it may not mean anything from me, my thoughts and condolences go out to the Scalia family.
But what has now begun is a second titanic power struggle as to who gets to place a new Justice on the throne.
The Republicans (unsurprisingly) argue that we should “Let the people decide” and wait until after the presidential election, in the hopes of getting a Republican president and having him nominate a Republican justice, which the Republican Senate and House would then pass.
The Democrats (also unsurprisingly) argue that to wait until then would be a complete disgrace, and would be something that has never happened in the history of the Supreme Court, that is, for it to be so long with an empty chair on the Supreme Court.
Okay, so let’s cut the appetizer and the dinner and move on right to the dessert. Get rid of this “Let the people decide” or “What a disgrace”. All the Republicans want is a Republican-leaning justice, and all the Democrats want is a Democrat-leaning justice.
The fact of the matter is, if a Republican President was currently in office, the Republicans would be wondering why that theoretical President hadn’t already nominated someone. And the Democrats would of course be crying a justification for waiting until the next election.
And in case you think I’m crazy, I came across this article today in which this exact scenario happened. Essentially, the positions were reversed, the Democrats claimed that the justice was unconstitutional and should be filibustered, and the rest is history.
All that that article is really proving, once you look past its obvious right-leaning bias, is that Republicans are at the exact same level as the Democrats are.
So where do I fall on this matter? I’m actually with the Democrats on this one, and consequently, with Bush and the Republicans on the case referenced by the article. The fact of the matter is, the Constitution clearly gives the power to the President to nominate someone for the chair, regardless of whether it’s a lame duck Presidency or not. Currently Obama is President and consequently the Constitution gives him the right to nominate someone as the next Justice.
Saying that isn’t going to stop the power struggle though.