Supreme Court Appointments and Elections


I’m still a bit stunned at the news that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died.  The comment has flitted across my computer screen that this is the worst thing that could happen to the United States, right now.  That’s a huge overstatement, but I might go so far as to suggest that (given my worldview) the death of no other single public figure could do more harm in the world at this precise moment.

Given the degree to which the country is divided — particularly between the general public and the political (including media) elites — everybody has already rushed to pull the tug-of-war rope tight over appointment of a successor.  Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (of Kentucky) has stated that the Senate will not confirm any nomination from President Barack Obama, leading Glenn Thrush of the left-wing Democrat-favoring publication Politico to tweet a “wow,” writing that McConnell is “rejecting a president’s right to nominate a SCOTUS justice.”

That’s baloney.  McConnell is actually asserting the Senate’s right to offer advice and consent on a SCOTUS justice.  Presidents who want the Senate to work with them on such matters should avoid being as divisive as Obama has been.  They should also avoid taking so many unconstitutional actions around Congress and the rule of law.  They should also avoid passing major legislation on party line votes.  They should also suggest that Senate Majority Leaders of their own party should not wave away long-standing rules of their chamber as deposed Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada) did for judicial appointments a short while ago.

No doubt, President Obama has relished the degree to which he’s pushed the Republicans in Congress into a corner by pitting their Washington-elite sensibilities against their Washington-hating base.  Here, too, he’ll be reaping the rewards if the Senate holds the Supreme Court seat open for the next president.  If the Republican Senate confirms another Obama nominee — especially to replace the very conservative Scalia — the 2016 election may very well blow up, and if they confirm one between the election and the swearing in of the next president, they may very well incite a revolution.

  • Raymond Carter

    The idea that this intellectual giant would be replaced by another Stalinist hack appointed by a defeated, discredited intellectual pygmy is simply unthinkable.
    No pasaran!

    In more pleasant news (strangely unreported in most circles) West Virginia became the 26th state to approve Right To Work.
    We need to tell our fearful leaders in the GA that RI cannot continue to be part of the “minority voice of no” on Right To Work!

    • Sorry

      Republicans, This is God’s will that Scalia passed away under Obama. Please delay so Hillary can appoint Obama next January.

      • Raymond Carter

        If the people are so foolish to elect the Wall Street Witch and a Democrat Senate they will get a fifth Stalinist on the Court and it will be the best political thing Democrats did for Republicans since Jefferson Davis. Put the over/under line for 2018 at 273 Republicans in the House alone.
        Tommy Cranston

  • Rhett Hardwick

    I think the Republic has suffered a blow with Scalia’s death. My immediate concern is gun rights, but I think the entire Constitutional order of government is in danger. I do hope the Republicans can withhold “advice and consent” until the next inauguration.

    • Bless the NRA

      Who knew the Republic was so fragile (or is it just you)? I think we’ll be just fine. Hey, if the right-wing extremists play this as poorly as they usually do, we are looking at all three branches falling to the dark side.

      • Rhett Hardwick

        I have always thought of our “Republic” as a mindset, and therefore fragile. On the other hand, I suppose the great lesson of our Civil War is “if you try to leave the republic, we’ll kill you”.

        • Rhett Hardwick

          When watching the “Fate of the Union”, I have always noticed that when the President enters, the Congress rises and applauds. The Supreme Court does not. Rising is a sign of respect for a superior. It appears that only the Supreme Court knows that they are “co-equal”.