This is what is at stake after the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia on Sunday. Standing, from left are, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito Jr., and Elena Kagan. Chuck Grassley said in a statement on Saturday.
The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia raises the likelihood of a high court tie on pending immigration cases that test the White House’s power to protect children of illegal immigrants and other groups from deportation, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Sunday. Obama said a nomination was “bigger than any one party”. “They’re about the institution to which Justice Scalia dedicated his professional life, and making sure it continues to function as the beacon of justice that our founders envisioned”.
On the debate stage in South Carolina Saturday night, all six Republican presidential contenders bowed their heads in silence to honor the late justice – and united to oppose Obama nominating his successor.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice”, McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
Scalia, who grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Harvard Law School, was a leader of the “originalist” ideology that looks at the US Constitution through the lens of its framers’ 18th century intentions. If there was languor in the court when he first joined, he soon changed that, writing pointed, often spicy opinions either in dissent of rulings or with the majority, and deploying sharp lines of questioning in oral arguments.
One of the most famous cases during Scalia’s tenure in the Supreme Court was the 2000 Bush v. Gore case, in which the Supreme Court stopped the recount of ballots in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. Any attempts by the Republican-led Senate to stall action would amount to intolerable political meddling. “That is a fact my friends, whether the Republicans like it or not”.
“Given our strongly polarized electorate, voters will split on the Senate delay of Obama’s Supreme Court nomination”, predicts Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.
So who will Obama pick?
Obama said the Senate should have enough time for a fair hearing and timely vote. To prevent such gamesmanship, some have proposed that the Constitution be amended to provide for fixed but generous terms for Supreme Court justices.
Since the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Anthony Kennedy has been the swing vote on numerous court’s 5-4 decisions. The Senate rejected the nomination of Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg withdrew over reports that he used marijuana while a Harvard law professor. Republicans will still have the option of opposing the nominee, but if their only rationale is that they don’t want to confirm an appointment by a Democratic president, their partisanship and disrespect for the court will be blatantly obvious.
But he respected Ginsburg for the kind of judge she is, offering clear and concise guidance to the lower courts. It also keeps the president from slipping quickly into “lame duck” status during an election year. Ted Cruz, one of the two GOP senators running for president, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the GOP-controlled Senate is doing its job.
Antonin Scalia was, beyond doubt, one of the best justices to ever serve on the Supreme Court. Since 1975, no nominee has waited for a confirmation vote longer than 108 days from the time he or she was selected.
Patricia Ann Millett: Millett, 52, was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court in 2013, after Srinivasan. “He was a tireless defender of the U.S. Constitution and a principled conservative who brought both tremendous intellect and wit to our nation’s highest court”.
Guevara also was out of town, but she said she declared Scalia dead based on information provided by officials at the scene, citing Texas laws that allow a justice of the peace to declare someone dead without seeing the body.
But if anything, the speed at which politics did take over portends a furious fight to come over which candidate gets to put his or her imprint on the court.