With Justice Scalia dead we have to elect a democrat in November

Ironically, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, died yesterday of natural causes after spending the day hunting quail at a resort ranch in west Texas. Generally regarded as the most conservative member of the court, his death eliminates the one-vote conservative majority. This means the justices will likely tie 4-4 on many issues until Justice Scalia is replaced. From the New York Times,

The court faces a crowded docket of politically charged cases that are certain to resonate in the presidential campaign on issues such as immigration, abortion, affirmative action, climate change, labor unions and Obama’s health care law. Decisions were expected in late spring and early summer on whether the president could shield up to 5 million immigrants living in the United States illegally from deportation.

The immediate impact of Scalia death means that the justices will now be divided 4-4 in many of those cases. If there is a tie vote, then the lower court opinion remains in place.

A Senate looking at a limited legislative agenda in an election year now faces one of the most consequential decisions for the venerable body. Not only will voters choose the next president, majority control of the Senate is at stake in November, with Republicans clinging to control and concerned about the fate of some half dozen GOP senators running for re-election in states that Obama won.

What is supposed to happen: President Obama will nominate a successor. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing. If it approves the nomination, the full senate will vote on the nomination. If approved by a majority, the nomination will be confirmed and the new justice will be sworn in. The appointment is for life, or until such time as the justice decides to retire.

What is going to happen: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already announced that the Republican controlled Senate will not hold hearings to consider President Obama’s nominee. He hopes that a Republican will be elected in November.

What this means for the country: We damn well better elect a democrat as our next president.

16 Responses to With Justice Scalia dead we have to elect a democrat in November

  1. bettykath says:

    It isn’t just the President that matters. Aren’t several Senate seats also up? Do you think a Republican Senate will confirm for any Democrat? I’ve heard several Republicans say that the people need to decide. Well, they did, in 2012. They don’t get to speak again until Nov. There’s plenty of time between now and then for a nomination to be made, vetted and confirmed. What I’ve read about Srinivasan, he’s a good choice. There are a couple of women on the short list, as well. I would love to see 9 women on the Supreme Court.

  2. gblock says:

    Maybe it’s not nice to say it, but if a Supreme Court Justice had to die, I’m glad that it was him. Some of the things I’ve seen that he’s said in the last few years (I don’t remember whether it was in written opinions, or things that he said during Supreme Court hearings, or both) have been really out there.

  3. Oldgold says:

    Oops, I meant Article 2, Section 1, not Article 1, Section 1.

  4. oldgold says:

    The Constitution is very clear on this.

    Article 1, Section 1: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the TERM OF FOUR YEARS …” (caps supplied)

    Article 2, Section 2: “… he SHALL NOMINATE, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court..” (caps supplied)

  5. Here’s an article at Politico discussing Srinivasan and several others.

  6. Oldgold says:

    McConnell really stepped in it yesterday. He should have taken some time to get some decent advise and think things through. To quickly declare the Senate would not consider ANY Obama nominee really eff’d the GOP over. His statement is in effect an attempted coup. The GOP Senate has overtly announced it would end Obama’s presidency 11 months before the 48 month term the American people elected him to expires. If we properly frame their argument, we can inflict heavy political damage.

    McConnell should have kept quiet. He could have claimed it would be unseemly to discuss this matter so soon after Scalia’s death. He could have then played slow-ball, voted down Obama’s nominee in late summer for some made up, but generally plausible reason, and then declared it too late to take-up a second nominee.

    That slow-ball strategy is now denied the GOP or would be very costly to carryout, because what McConnell said yesterday lays bare their cynical con.

    • You said,

      That slow-ball strategy is now denied the GOP or would be very costly to carryout, because what McConnell said yesterday lays bare their cynical con.

      I agree. It was a stupid move and I hope the democrats make the Republicans pay for it. The debates are a convenient forum.

      • Malisha says:

        I think the Senate refusing to confirm a nominee to the High Court would be sedition. We need to start calling it what it is.

    • gblock says:

      I didn’t watch last Saturday’s Republican debate, but apparently most of the wanna-be candidates were saying that a new Supreme Court Justice should not be appointed until after the election. That’s actually a long time. That means that the Supreme Court would not only go the rest of this “Judicial Year” (or whatever it’s called) without a new justice, but start the next year as well, since their “year” starts in early October, and election isn’t until November.

  7. Two sides to a story says:

    Sorry – I didn’t see that I copied two links instead of one, so the link to the Daily Mail article about Sri Srinivasan is in moderation.

  8. Two sides to a story says:

    Too bad there aren’t laws that allow the censure or arrest of legislators who refuse to do their jobs.

  9. There’s a rumor going around twitter that Obama is going to nominate Judge Padmanabhan Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan to replace Scalia. He is a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

    He has a JD/MBA from Stanford and clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the SCOTUS. He also served as Solicitor General for the US.

    The Republicans would have a tough time refusing to consider his nomination since the Senate confirmed him to serve on the Court of Appeals by a vote of 97–0 on May 23, 2013.

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