Justice Antonin Scalia, the patriarch of conservative jurisprudence, was found dead on Saturday at a resort in West Texas. Speculation is that he died of heart failure. He was 79.
Appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Reagan, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate, while becoming the first Italian-American Justice, Scalia spent nearly thirty years on the bench advocating for originalism in constitutional interpretation. His concurrences, as well as his dissents were often found to be scathing rebukes to the Courts over-reach of the Founder’s intent.
Just hours after the report of Scalia's death, a political fire-storm erupted as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate had no plans to entertain any nominations from the current President:
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that the Senate should wait until a new president is elected to confirm a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, whose sudden death Saturday shook Washington and threatened to reshape the 2016 presidential race.
Democrats said that with 11 months left in President Obama’s tenure, the Senate has enough time — and indeed an obligation — to confirm a replacement. Sen. Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the chamber, said it would be “shameful” to put off a replacement that long." linkSenate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley disagreed:
“The fact of the matter is that it’s been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year,” Mr. Grassley said. “Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court justice.”However, Democrat Chuck Schumer went on a Sunday morning news show to insist Republicans do not resort to obstructionism:
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is criticizing Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell for saying the Senate should not move forward with a Supreme Court nominee during President Obama's remaining months in office.
"You know, the kind of obstructionism that Mitch McConnell's talking about, he's harkening back to his old days. You know, he recently he said, 'Well, I want regular order,' " Schumer said on ABC's "This Week." linkOf course, the ever-hypocritical Mr. Schumer didn't think his party was "obstructing" anything in George Bush's final year in office:
"Second, for the rest of this President’s term and if there is another Republican elected with the same selection criteria let me say this:
We should reverse the presumption of confirmation. The Supreme Court is dangerously out of balance. We cannot afford to see Justice Stevens replaced by another Roberts; or Justice Ginsburg by another Alito.
Given the track record of this President and the experience of obfuscation at the hearings, with respect to the Supreme Court, at least: I will recommend to my colleagues that we should not confirm a Supreme Court nominee EXCEPT in extraordinary circumstances." linkAnd, Schumer's "recommendation" came 18 months before the end of Bush's term. So, Mr. Schumer, (apparently), has no problem with throwing the Supreme Court "out of balance", as long as it swings to the left---(we get it Chucky)---but here's a little Constitutional lesson for you and your liberal cohorts:
"The Constitution gives the Senate the right to "advice and consent" for Supreme Court nominees. The Senate members can choose if and when to vote on the nomination. The nominee needs 50 votes to pass, but must garner the support of at least 60 members. Otherwise, the opponents can force a filibuster, in which one or more senators can speak for as long as they choose and delay the vote indefinitely." link
No where in the Constitution does it say, "the Senate must confirm" any nominated candidate for the Supreme Court. The Senate members can choose if and when to vote on the nomination. Mr. Obama and the Democrats seem to be under the illusion that this nation needs to swing to the left, (which is exactly what an Obama nominee will do), yet both the 2010 & 2014 shellackings by the Republican Party proves this is not the case. Democrats, (specifically the liberal progressives), can whine all they want about this process, but as we, (Republicans), have learned expeditiously---elections do have consequences.
I believe Justice Scalia would concur.