I did not erupt in liberal glee when I heard the news of Associate Supreme Court Justice Scalia's death yesterday.  That would have been unseemly, uncharitable and decidedly un-Christian.  And although I disagreed with every decision he ever made, I’ll leave the gloating to others.  After all, the Supreme Court has pretty much always been comprised of Justices with a range of politics and views since appointments for the life-term positions have always been made under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. 

Now, did a small wave of relief and satisfaction pass through my body when I heard the news?  Well, given that I consider myself a generous, empathetic, kind-hearted, died-in-the-womb radical liberal who threw things at the television when the Citizens United and Hobby Lobby decisions were announced, I admit it.  Yes.  I did.  Just for a moment.  All right.  A bit longer than this.  Maybe 30 seconds.  No.  Maybe a whole minute. 

Anyway, my minute of muted glee at Scalia’s passing, was quickly squelched this morning when I saw the headlines in this morning’s newspaper:


Look, I am certainly no Scalia fan.  In fact, you could say that both on the Court Bench and in innumerable public speaking venues, there was nothing about the man that didn’t pretty much light up my uber-liberal passions.  That being said, the man is presumably still lying in some Texas morgue, possible awaiting or undergoing a post mortem, and already the battle lines over his vacancy are not only being drawn (that happened yesterday, the day of Scalia’s death) but  this morning Republicans in a mass outpouring of across-the-board Kumbaya, are railing at Obama for saying that he will appoint someone to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.  

I’m watching Fox News Sunday (one of my favorite opposition programs that  airs conservative “logic” at work) where Senator Mark Rubio (R-FL) just declared that President Obama “does not have the authority to nominate someone to the Supreme Court”  in a magnificent display of Right-Wing-Constitutional expertise.  But here’s what the Constitution actually says about Supreme Court appointments:

The President...shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law....

To be totally fair and above board, this is the quote from the Heritage Foundation’s web site. And this is all it says.  Period.  It doesn’t say that a lame duck president does not have the authority to appoint Supreme Court Justices nor does it say that when a vacancy occurs in an election year, such appointments should be delayed.  And since Scalia was a “strict Constitutional constructionist” to the point of foolishness, it seems to me that all the blowhard Republicans railing against Obama (a daily occurrence, by the way) should follow both the Constitution and Scalia’s interpretation of the Constitution.  But given that the term "hypocrisy" is not a part of the conservative lexicon of the English language, they won't. 

But in addition to the always robotic Ted Cruz, here’s a few other choice comments from the Republican side of the divide:

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Chair, Charles Grassley (R-IA) said that Scalia should not be replaced until the next President has taken office.  “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.”  

Yeah. Right.  As if we liberals (assuming that we are part of the conglomeration called “the American people” cited above) had a say in the appointment of Scalia (or Silent Clarence, for that matter) or any other Supreme Court Justice.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said: "We have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year," Cruz said.

He is, of course as he often is when he opens his mouth and worlds spill forth, just plain wrong.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH)  began by ducking the question — "if I were president, we wouldn't have the divisions in the country we have today," but ended up  stating that Obama shouldn't nominate someone for the Supreme Court vacancy. "I believe the president should not move forward," Kasich said.
Apparently Kasich dares not upset the right wing Evangelical crowd who hate Obama with an unmitigated passion now that he's doing better on the campaign front. 

Dr. Ben Carson also was quoted as saying Republicans should oppose Obama's choice. "I fully agree that we should not allow a judge to be appointed during his time," Carson said.


Many of the other Republican presidential candidates suggested Obama should not move forward with any choice — regardless of who it is — Jeb Bush at least acknowledged that Obama could nominate a justice for the vacancy.  "Of course, the president, by the way, has every right to nominate Supreme Court justices," Bush said. "I'm an Article II guy on the Constitution."

The Republican Establishment’s last great white hope to beat Sanders or Clinton went on to say that Obama should find a nominee with a "consensus orientation," and that he didn't expect the president to choose such a justice. "There's no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama will not have a consensus pick," Bush said.

So, there you have it.  Scalia’s body still rests not in the ground, but no doubt in some Texas coroner’s office, and the Great White Republican Obama Hater Obstructionists can’t seem to marshal even a scintilla of decency over the death of one of their greatest heroes before attacking Obama for a Constitutional right he hasn’t exercised, but will. 

Also there is no doubt in my mind, that whoever Obama nominates, the Republican controlled Senate will not confirm him or her until after the next election.  Just one more indication of just how important it is that all of us get out and vote Democratic no matter who the Democratic nominee is on November 8, 2016.

Here's an interview in 2013 with Scalia done by now much-maligned Piers Morgan:

If I were a candidate for President on the Democratic side, here's what I would propose to every one of our current Republican aspirants:

"Are you willing to sign a pledge, like Grover Norquist's tax pledge you signed, that if elected President you will not appoint a Supreme Court Justice during the last year of your Presidency?" 

One of them, Rubio, has already been asked this question by George Stephanopolous.  His response:  Silence.  


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