The Associated Press reported on 02/13/2016 that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away. Scalia was known as one of the most conservative Justices on the court. He was 79. His passing was discovered on Saturday morning after he did not come to breakfast. He was at his a private residence in West Texas.
What does this mean for Democrats? This is a game changer affecting President Obama’s last year. The Supreme Court had undertaken to decide Affirmative Action, Abortion, and Contraception. Now the court is essentially a 4-4 court. President Obama could appoint someone; however, the Senate approves all Supreme Court Justices and Republicans are in control. The most likely scenario is that the Republicans will stretch out the confirmation process at least until November. If a Republican Nominee wins the Presidency then the delay will go on until the new Senate appears along with the new President. This will essentially keep the Supreme Court conservative. If a Democrat wins the Presidency, then President Obama’s nominee will likely be confirmed since it will make little difference to stall until another Democrat is in office.
President Obama can implement a strategy to get his nominee confirmed this year. To accomplish this he can nominate a Judge that has already been vetted by the Senate. This would eliminate time because the Judiciary committee would already have the answers on file. Normal talking points would be ineffective because the press would just say they were already confirmed. The President could also use the bull pit to push the nomination. Again, because the nominee was essentially vetted previously the normal stalling tactics would not apply. The biggest drawback to doing this would be that the President may not be recommending his top choice. Another scenario may be that Republicans overplay their hand and stall too long. If a Democrat wins the nomination they may very well appoint President Obama to replace Justice Scalia.
Republican Presidential contenders Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all have stated that the next President should nominate his replacement.
What do you think about Scalia’s passing and how it will affect 2016? Comment below and let us know.