Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Should Obama Replace Scalia?
This isn't about respecting the dead, as Justices have almost always been replaced within six months after they die. Obama has twelve months left in his term.
This isn't about whether a president should be allowed to nominate a new Justice in the last year of a term. FDR, Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, and Herbert Hoover did just that.
The root of the Conservative objection is that they don't want such a Conservative icon replaced by a Liberal Justice. Antonin Scalia seemed, more than anybody on the Supreme Court, like he was Their Guy (even when he was sometimes selling them out to the Kochs). I can get that, but consider the other side.
The root of the Liberal desire is to see a Justice that doesn't dismantle the rights of racial minorities, LGBT+ people, unions, and the poor for another thirty years. It's not just that Scalia said racist and homophobic things. He facilitated numerous reductions in rights and protections for so many marginalized people, and was at work doing more of this around the time of his death. Liberals are eager to see someone who will stand up for egalitarian values get into the Supreme Court and go to work immediately addressing grave concerns.
It's pretty easy for me to pick which is more important. One side wants someone from their team in power, while the other side wants millions of people who aren't in power to be treated like they're on our team.