What Scalia's Passing Means
I realize it is crass to already be talking about the political impact of a man's death before he is even buried, but Antonin Scalia was a larger-than-life political ideologue who wore a robe. His death today at age 79 is unfortunate, and I pray for his family in their time of need. It would have been appropriate for the body politic to withhold commenting about how his death affects the 2016 campaign, but Mitch McConnell has already walked over Scalia body, as will the GOP candidates at tonight's debate. So what does his death mean?
Barack Obama will never get to fill this vacancy.
The Court will now hear and address several high-energy issues this session like abortion and affirmative action evenly split 4-4.
Scalia’s death and resulting vacancy on the Court does what the GOP Republican establishment couldn’t do: stop Donald Trump or Ted Cruz from getting the nomination. There is no way the party will let Trump or Cruz get the nomination if it costs conservatives and Corporate America the Supreme Court. John Kasich and Jeb Bush just got a boost they couldn’t get for themselves. Get ready for a brokered convention, and the GOP civil war that follows.
Mike Bloomberg can forget about running, because his likely murky comments about who he would nominate to the Court are no longer workable. Partisans on both sides will demand clarity on this issue from this day forward until the election is decided in November.
The Supreme Court just became a large issue in the campaign, now perhaps larger and more focusing than economic and national security issues would have been. The gun lobby will go into overdrive the remainder of this year to make this election a referendum on the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court. For their part, liberals now have in their sights the first 5-4 center-left court in four decades, and the Democratic Party will have more energy now to get out women, young people, and persons of color to invest them in the outcome.
Obama should nominate someone anyway, and make the GOP amp up their hateful rhetoric in opposition. He probably has many good choices, and I would go with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson or my choice years ago. But no matter how good these choices would be, they'll never see the Court.