The news of Justice Scalia’s death may be the biggest political event of our lifetime. With all due respect to Justice Scalia, his family, his brilliance and his undeniable legacy, Justice Scalia’s death at this particular time in our nation’s history may be the greatest news for liberals since McCain picked Sarah Palin as vice president, and maybe since Nixon broke a sweat in 1960.
Justice Scalia was not just any justice, but by far the most conservative and influential justice on the Supreme Court since the 1960’s. Scalia influenced not only the other justices, but all of conservative politics. Every single controversial issue in politics today has Scalia’s stamp on it, including gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, gun rights, religious excuses for discriminating, union rights, voting rights, corporate money in elections, immigration and pollution. The most reliable and influential conservative voice on the Supreme Court for all of these issues is dead. The impact on conservatives cannot be understated.
And then there is the timing.
The Supreme Court was 5-4 in favor of Republicans before Justice Scalia’s death. With the loss of Scalia, a Reagan appointee, President Obama has the opportunity to convert that to 5-4 in favor of Democrats. If confirmed, an Obama nominee would end 40 years of Republican control of the Supreme Court.
The battle will be EPIC.
And again, that is understated. Republicans are freaking out right now. They are outside their minds. I can’t even describe it in words suitable here. Again, and with all due respect for Justice Scalia, I am enjoying the Republican reaction. I won’t be politically correct and pretend that I’m not.
Remember, the Senate has to approve President Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The Senate is 54-44 in favor of Republicans. And not only that, the Republicans can filibuster a Supreme Court nominee, requiring not 4, but 14 of the Republican senators to vote with the Democrats to make it 60-40 to approve President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. So, President Obama needs 14 Republicans to vote for someone who will change the 5-4 balance on the Supreme Court.
Does anyone think that could realistically happen? Never. No way in hell!
So what happens? President Obama could nominate a moderate judge, a judge who is not ridiculously liberal, who maybe could get approved by the Senate. But realistically, no nominee is getting through the Senate these days. No one. President Obama seems to understand that at this point, finally. Republicans will oppose anything he suggests. Lately he has grown a pair and is doing WTF he wants, which is fun. So maybe the Prez nominates a total liberal, and just flies the double middle freedom rockets to the Republicans. Reagan did that with Robert Bork at the end of his term. That would be fun too.
So what is President Obama’s move??? I’m a little too into politics, I admit, but I can’t wait to find out.
But here’s the thing, no matter what happens, whoever President Obama nominates, all of the legal issues will be front and center this election. That could not be better for Democrats.
Should gay people be allowed to marry? Should psychopaths be allowed to buy guns? Should a woman raped be able to have an abortion? Should corporations be able to buy elections? Should minorities be able to vote? Should America deport the children of illegal immigrants? Should teachers be allowed to form a union? Should religious folks be allowed to discriminate based on their religion?
These are the critical issues for our society, not whether the top tax rate is 35% or 39%. All of these issues are up for decision, or were recently up for decision, by the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia’s death will keep these decisions at issue in the election.
NOTHING could be better for Democrats. Democrats win on all these issues. Republicans hate having these issues discussed. These issues will now be talked about incessantly for the next nine months.
And it doesn’t just help Democrats in electing Hillary. This also helps in the Senate. One-third of the Senate is up for election every two years. Of those 34 seats, 24 are held by Republicans, so Republicans are particularly vulnerable this election, especially those in Blue states like Mark Kirk in Illinois and Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. They will not get reelected if they oppose a nominee because he or she is too liberal on social issues. So they either get on board with the nomination, or look for another job. Either way, Democrats win.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is deadlocked 4-4, with some critical partisan decisions coming up on issues like voting rights, affirmative action, Obamacare, union rights and the biggest one, Texas basically shutting down all abortion clinics with ridiculous regulations.
We live in interesting times.