Here at FourFreedomsBlog, we try to be topical when possible. Sometimes, though, a big story occurs and it's only several days later that a writer gets a chance to post some thoughts. Such is the case of the surprise passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
. We got the news this past Saturday, and it is now 4 days since that political bombshell detonated all over the cable programs. In this case, though, sometimes a little distance is a good thing, as it allows the knee-jerk reactions to bubble up and form a scum on the surface.
With only a couple hours passed after the story hit the cable news stations, Republican lawmakers were proclaiming that they would not vote on any nominee put forth by President Obama. They weren't complaining about any particular
nominee, they weren't saying they wouldn't confirm
any nominee, they literally said they wouldn't vote on it
. That, of course, is abdicating their responsibility, as well as subverting the intention of the Constitution they all claim
to hold so dear, but hey - politics always matter more to them.
Once the dust settled a little, there was some back-peddling. They changed their tune to say that what with it being an election year, it would be best to wait until after the next president is seated so the "voters can have a say". Never mind that won't be for another 11 months, nor that the voters DID have a say in 2012 when President Obama was re-elected. Also never mind that the exact same thing happened when Ronald Reagan was president, and Justice Kennedy (who is still on the court) was quickly voted on and confirmed. Marco Rubio just doesn't care
- he thinks he's going to be the next president and wants to be the one to appoint Scalia's replacement.
Along with the political "making up the rules as they go along" from the Republican politicians, there are also the stupid conspiracy theories
swirling around the death of Scalia, like a floater in the toilet that doesn't want to get flushed down. There was no autopsy (his family refused it), he was getting embalmed before being shipped back to DC (per state law in TX), the cause of death was changed and no doctor directly examined his body! Oh Em Gee! Never mind that - as a private person - his poor health was not widely known. There's also been talk of a suspicious pillow. Some say...
The reality is that the Republicans are in a damned-if-they-do-and-damned-if-they-don't situation. They don't want to give President Obama the opportunity to appoint a 3rd SCOTUS justice because - well... it's President Obama. It seems obvious he would choose a centrist to ensure an easy vote, but it doesn't matter. The nominee will be accused of being "the most liberal appointment ever". They do NOT want to vote for ANY nominee while there are still primaries going on.
However, if they still manage to stall this until next January, there are two problems to contend with:
1) The next president will likely be a Dem, and will likely pick someone even more left-leaning than Obama would (perhaps even Obama himself).
2) With the absence of Scalia, the court balance is now already shifted more to the left. On issues where he would be the 5th vote, there will now be a tie, leaving any lower court decision to stand as-is. That will favor the left, as most of the cases on the docket were appeals by the right after the left won in the lower courts
. Of course - the ruling (or - more accurately - lack of ruling) will only apply to the cases at hand, and set no precedent (and can be re-appealed later on when the court is at full-strength). Nonetheless, it does the Republicans no favor to have these cases handled this way.
The reality that they have yet to face is that they are no longer a majority in this nation. They've taken over the House due to gerrymandering (which is slowly getting undone by the courts), but their hold on the Senate is tenuous at best, and they have not been able to put forward any statesmen for presidential races in years. Whatever draconian legislation they can put into law will be tossed by the SCOTUS for years to come. They have become victims of their own nastiness, rigidity, and inability to stand up to the most extreme in their own party. They have transparently pursued politics over governance. Their supporters are getting older and dying off, and the younger voters are not buying their bullshit.
Instead, we are looking at years of enlightened rulings by a court that will consider the rights and plights of the individual against a theocratic and plutocratic power base that has lost its power. It's a new day in America.