On February 13, 2016, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court Antonin Scalia died at the age of 79 while on a hunting trip at his ranch in Texas. The moments that followed were shocking.
Within hours of the story breaking, many Republican’s in the US Senate had either warned Obama not to nominate anyone during his last year in office, or that the next President should be the one to nominate the next associate justice.
President Obama wasted little time in reminding congressional republicans of their constitutional duty in this moment in American history, by saying that he would be putting forth a nomination and urged senate republicans to fulfill their roles and hold a swift hearing and vote on the matter.
Could this lead to a constitutional crisis not since seen in our nations history?
The President as head of the Executive Branch has the duty to nominate a person to fill the vacancy, while it is the job of the Senate to confirm the presidents nominee, all this to maintain our governments system of checks and balances. But what happens when that fails.
Scalia’s death left a void in the nations top court, splitting the balance of power to 4/4, president Obama will no doubt nominate a liberal but he will face staunch opposition on getting his nominee through the senate, we also have to note that the notorious RBG (Justice Ginsburg) isn’t the youngest person on the bench, having had numerous health problems over her tenure this could make the Supreme Court lose a lot of it’s standing over the next few years.
The court is about to hear some case this year that will be sure to shake things up, but now that the court is evenly divided we will see just how important the lower courts rulings will become. As long as we have a hung court lower courts rulings will stand at it will be as if the Supreme Court never even heard testimony on the cases. But a liberal court could change the entire history of the Roberts court, as important cases like Citizen’s United and other huge cases could be reviewed and ruled upon again.
While we will just have to wait and see what happens in our dysfunctional political system let us hope that it brings about profound change, that will lead our country back to prosperity.