Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s funeral was held in Washington D.C. on Saturday, and many noted that one VIP was not in attendance: President Barack Obama.
Notable attendees included Vice President Joe Biden, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., former vice president Dick Cheney, and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, according to this Washington Post article.
As soon as Scalia passed, presidential candidates and politicians alike began speculating on the repercussions of his death. It didn’t take long for Republicans to declare their plan to filibuster any sort of nomination that Obama puts forth. Democrats reacted by claiming this act as unconstitutional.
The timing of Scalia’s death has numerous implications, which is why it’s been such a big deal in the media.
- There are a large number of controversial cases on the docker for the Supreme Court for this upcoming term, among them abortion and immigration.
- There will probably be a lot of 4-4 ties on the Supreme Court without his vote.
- President Obama will likely want to nominate someone that will shift the balance so that the Court will favor the liberal agenda.
- Our Republican Senate will likely not accept any liberals that Obama tries to put through.
- The Senate will have to decide whether to confirm the nominee that Obama selects or leave the seat on the Supreme Court vacant for over a year.
All of this is why this issue has been raised frequently on the news and in recent presidential debates. Scalia was a staunch conservative that strictly upheld his interpretation of the Constitution. Without his strong conservative voice on the Court, we could see a massive change in the judicial branch of our government.
With all of this in mind, it’s important to note that besides the unique timing of Scalia’s death, there should be nothing surprising about the way that the Republicans and Democrats are reacting. Both see this is an opportunity to maintain or gain power in this branch of government.
While the Supreme Court would likely be considerably less productive without a tie-breaker to finalize decisions, who can blame the Republicans for doing their best to maintain sway in the Supreme Court? No one.
In fact, a reporter recently called out Obama for supporting the filibuster of Bush’s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito in 2006.
Of course, Obama had an explanation for his actions, as all suave politicians do. And that is just my point: this is politics. There will always be some justification for what a politician is attempting to do in order to benefit his party or his beliefs.
This is not to say that this process is wrong. It’s not at all surprising that the parties are both trying to use these unfortunate circumstances to their advantage. One of the many roles that politicians should assume is to advance their parties’ platform and beliefs whenever and wherever possible. It’s just good politics.