By Don Valentine
Justice Anthony Scalia passed a-way this weekend leaving a split on the Supreme Court. The court now stands four conservative votes to four liberal votes. Concisely put, it means that the Court’s rulings will likely be moot because a split vote renders the lower court ruling affirmed.
Historically a new Justice is confirmed in 90 – 100 days. The current Administration will be in office for 330 more days. The framers of the Constitution, most notably Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, wanted to prevent the union from ever becoming a monarchy. That is why we have a tertiary division of power.
The founding fathers wanted to set up a paradigm that no one portion of government Legislative, Executive or Judicial would have more power.
Republican’s could navigate a temporary elimination of this balance of government until a new President is sworn into office.
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan quickly came out to say that whatever candidate President Obama nominates would be rejected so the next President could make the decision. Lawrence Tribe, acclaimed Harvard Law professor, stated in a C.N.B.C. article that “The Republican’s would make an unprecedented misstep on their job if they refused to review a nominee by President Obama even though it is in his last year. The Constitution states that the President should submit a recommendation to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court in a timely fashion and it is up to Congress to review said candidate.
Let me answer your question about why this is important to our community. The replacement for Justice Scalia will be the swing vote five – four on College Affirmative Action challenge, voting district challenge, and Immigration challenges facing the court.
The Republican Party is rolling an interesting “Pitch of the Dice”. If Mr. Trump gets selected by their party and the country decides we do not want a “Game Show” host to represent our country then the alternative would be corrosive to the Republicans. Hillary Clinton is on record as saying she would consider Constitutional Scholar and former President Barack Obama for Supreme Court Justice.
Be careful on what you wish for Re-publicans. There are a lot of political favors to be traded between the Obama and Clinton camps. John Kerry was not the first Choice for Secretary of State by accident.
Don Valentine Free Lance Writer, U.C. Berkeley B.S. Psychology ’89 McGeorge Law School J.D. ‘92