Scalia’s Death: What It Means for America

By Ramatu Mohammed

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

 

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead February 13, 2016, on a West Texas Ranch. There are some who deem him to have been very radical or too conservative, but all can agree the brilliance of this Justice.

Justice Antonin Scalia was a conservative justice who opposed many controversial issues of our times such as abortion and gay rights. He has left a legacy and big shoes to fill. He was buried on February 20th, 2016 with thousands of citizens there to witness. Having the opportunity to hear him speak last year in Washington D.C, it undeniable how brilliant this man was.

He was appointed in 1986 by the Reagan administration and has served on the Court since, spending 29 years of his life on the Supreme Court. Time and time again he showed America his idealism of interpreting the Constitution in accordance to the original text, holding to be an originalist.

His sudden death has left a vacancy within the Supreme Court. It is the duty of President Obama to nominate the next Justice, after which they must then be confirmed by the Senate, as stated in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. It all seems like a rather easy and guided process, but unfortunately there seems be a lack of bipartisanship. Having a Democratic president and majority of the Senate being Republican, it makes the process extremely difficult.

So what’s next? That seems to be the question many Americans have. It is the President’s duty to nominate the next justice, but given the significant divide between President Obama and the Republican controlled Senate, it will be a challenge to get an Obama nomination to get confirmed.

With it being so close to the election, Republicans are hopeful they can hold off the process on the chance that a Republican candidate will take office. If so, they can appoint whomever they choose to sit on the Supreme Court for a life-long term.

If the Senate fails to confirm someone before the next president there will be a vacancy in the Supreme Court for more than a year, the longest in American History. It seems absurd but the majority of Senate would rather delay the process as much as possible even if it might cause criticism of their election in upcoming years because of the significance of the next justice.

If Obama is able to successfully succeed in appointing a justice that will shape the Supreme Court 5-4, there will be a liberal majority.