If you thought the upcoming election could not get any more heated, rest assured, it will. Up to this point, the debates have provided more entertainment than several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. (Okay, well maybe it is a close call.) When the presidential candidates for each party are selected, the election will take on an even greater significance. Why? The death of Justice Antonin Scalia has changed the political landscape in a way that no one could have envisioned.
Scalia was active in leading the conservative agenda of the Supreme Court. As noted by legal commentator Bill Blum inTruthdig, “Scalia was also an unvarnished intemperate and intolerant ideologue, raising against same-sex marriage, voting rights, Obamacare, affirmative action and other progressive caused.” Honestly, I cannot say I liked his politics at all.
The impact will be felt by the United States Supreme Court, which has a number of important cases pending before it, including affirmative action, abortion, birth control, immigration, etc. Anticipated 5-4 rulings from the conservative majority will be transformed into 4-4 stalemates, which leaves the lower court’s rulings intact. The Court could order argument of cases where it is even split.
The next area of impact will be in selecting a successor. Obama has indicated he intends to name a successor, but it is unlikely that the Senate will confirm any choice he makes. That leaves the slot open for the next president to fill.
The next president may have the opportunity to name two or even three justices. Scalia’s passing will make that right a key issue in the presidential elections. Each party will be pressing for heavy voter turnout in an effort to control the politics of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, that is the sad fact that the composition of the Court serves political agendas.