U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died at the age of 79 on Feb. 13. He was an ardent Republican and led the conservative majority of 5-4 in the Supreme Court. Recent doctor’s letters have shed light on his many ailments: Scalia suffered from coronary artery disease, obesity and diabetes, according to the Associated Press’ The Big Story.
Many publications have also started to investigate the details of his death as it relates to location and the people he was with. Numerous reporters have looked into the West Texas ranch where he died. Additionally, The Washington Post revealed that he was surrounded by a “secretive society of elite hunters” and numerous conspiracies about murder have been thrown around.
The significance of his death, however, comes from how it fuels political tensions, especially in the 2016 presidential race.
There has been much debate about who should choose Scalia’s replacement. While the current president, Barack Obama, has the constitutional right to select him or her, some believe that the next president should have that right. The argument stems from Democrat and Republican rivalries. The Washington Post reported that considering President Obama’s to-be-determined nominee would upset the “base” of the Senate Republicans.
The majority-Republican Senate has spoken out about the Senate confirmation needed to confirm the president’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would block Obama’s nominations for a new justice. Several other Republicans have also said that any Supreme Court nominee from President Obama would not be considered.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” McConnell said, according to Politico.
The Senate’s pledge to block nominations is virtually unheard of and unprecedented. Politico reported that it reflects “[a] historic rebuke of President Obama’s authority and an extraordinary challenge to the practice of considering each nominee on his or her individual merits.”
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor believes that the replacement should be nominated by Obama, who has over 300 days left in office. Obama has indeed released a statement detailing his plan to nominate a replacement, so a standoff between President Obama and the Senate Republicans can be expected.
Carina Wang, Staff Writer
Sophomore Carina Wang is a staff writer for the 2015-2016 Colonel. She is on the FIRST Robotics team.