President Reagan appointed Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to the nation’s highest court in 1986. Scalia served for 29 years before passing away over the weekend at age 79. May he rest in peace.
None of the rest of us will get any.
Why? An often conservative 5-4 majority is gone. The court is now tied, deadlocked, at 4-4.
“With the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, President Barack Obama will make another nomination to the Supreme Court,” explained an email from the very liberal Democracy for America (I’m on a lot of lists). “It is critically important that President Obama choose a strongly progressive person who can lead the Supreme Court and our country in a new direction.”
That’s Obama’s prerogative, of course. But the president’s nominee must be approved by the United States Senate — controlled 54 to 46 by Republicans.
And guess what?
Almost as fast, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued this statement: “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.”
Now, our Democratic president could negotiate with the Republican Senate majority, come up with a consensus (yeah, right) or compromise choice (watch out).
But don’t hold your breath.
Republican Senators have a constitutional duty to provide advice and consent to the president’s pick. Unless Mr. Obama’s choice will improve the High Court, those senators should withhold their consent.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.