Rest in Peace Justice Antonin Scalia

Disheartened, no sickened, is my reaction to the callous cheering and appalling displays celebrating the passing of Justice Scalia.  Such demonstrations are not progressivism.  They are ‘regressivism,’ inhuman, and beneath the dignity of us all.  One may disagree with his opinions rendered and interpretations of the Constitution as a member of the Supreme Court, but like all of us Justice Scalia was a person.  He had a family.  He loved and was loved.

As the bell tolls with his passing, it tolls for each of us for we are all part of the human race.  Let there be a time to mourn, to reflect, and not banter as uncaring or foolish.

I did not know Justice Scalia, and I never met him.  He did speak at Mississippi State University but that was a few years after my studies and obviously I had opportunities up here in the DC area, but it is my loss to have never heard him talk in person.

I’ve disagreed with many of his decisions and for the most part my original feelings have not changed over the years and extended review of US history and precedent.  By the privilege of being born in this country and being a United States citizen, I have that right.  I may not have earned that right.  I credit previous generations who shed their blood, sweat, and tears to preserve a right of which I was given and tasked to pass along to future generations by virtue freely sacrificing the blood, sweat, and tears within my being.

Ideology aside one thing that stands out when considering Justice Scalia was his close friendship with his colleague Justice Ginsburg.  Extreme opposites physically and ideologically but an obvious mutual respect existed.  They separated work from the individual and differences of opinion from the essence of the person.  That’s admirable and sadly a skill that is no longer honed in the political arena.  In fact one must search long and hard for even a trace of such craftsmanship.

How can one not respect that and only the most close minded and shallow could ever applaud the loss of such character.

The politics and partisanship will continue and sadly did not even take a moment of pause.

The Constitution is clear, and the process is relatively straightforward.  Article II, Section 2, clause 2 states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the Supreme Court.”

Yes some are bantering about questions of lame duck appointments and citing statistics with those assertions, but the reality is that the existing pool of data is very limited because of the very nature of how openings occur on the Court.  Last night’s GOP debate brought questions of the details surrounding Justice Kennedy’s appointment.  If not already written by someone, expect to read of President Lyndon Johnson’s failed attempt to elevate Justice Abe Fortas to Chief Justice following the announcement that Chief Justice Earl Warren planned to resign from the bench.  Even if Justice Fortas is unmentioned the usage of “lame duck” within the media will likely invoke a rehashing of an informal Thurmond Rule named for former US Senator J. Strom Thurmond.  Others may jump back further in time and call upon the name of Justice Robert Cooper Grier and his saga.

Presidential wannabe Senator Cruz has already stated his intent to block any nomination to the Court from reaching the Floor of the US Senate.  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s almost immediate public reaction to the passing of Justice Scalia affirms that any Floor proceedings are unlikely to transpire until some point following the inauguration of the next President.

President Obama, however, intends to follow the Constitution and nominate an individual to serve on the Supreme Court.  He is President, and he has 11 months remaining in his term.  I would like to hear the name of the individual before making an initial judgment about whether that person should sit on the bench.  I would like to see that individual field questions from United States Senators on a variety of issues.  Honestly, I have no opinion on some unknown person and whether or not that unknown person is qualified in my opinion to serve on the Court.

Even if invoking the Thurmond Rule, one needs to almost double it in time to apply.  As to the “will of the people,” We the People did not determine the date that Justice Scalia would pass away.

I wonder if President Obama nominated Senator Cruz for the Supreme Court if Senator Cruz would immediately block his own nomination.  Apparently he would because anything done by President Obama has to be wrong and an attack upon the American people and the very Constitution that states that the President is expected to make a nomination with the advice and consent of the Senate.  Why buck partisanship when it enables you to stop an entire country?

Obviously the nomination of Senator Cruz will not happen, but there is another consideration that I have yet to see addressed.  Personally I doubt that this will happen, but….

Could a SCOTUS Appointment Bypass the Senate and be Constitutional?

Please see next post.

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