February 14 1016 – I woke up in the middle of the night last night, picked up my phone to check the news and the first thing I read about was the death of Scalia, one of the justices on the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”). Of course, after that moment, I was wide awake.
For those that don’t know why the timing of his death is critical – we’ve seen in the past few years that the decisions of the SCOTUS have become more political than legal. There are nine justices on the bench of the SCOTUS and in most judgments, it’s possible to accurately guess exactly how 8 of them will vote in every decision. The reason we know which way they will go is because the law requires interpretation, and based on their ideological views, it’s become quite easy to predict how each will interpret the facts and law put before them. The Liberals interpret the law to suit liberal political agendas and Conservatives interpret the law in line with Conservative views. Up until yesterday, the SCOTUS had 4 Liberal Justices, 4 Conservative Justices and one whose views are difficult to call (although he has leaned liberal in two recent critical decisions). In the SCOTUS, justices are appointed for life. So they are on the bench from their appointment date until they die. When one of them dies, the current president of the US gets to nominate someone to take his/her place. So the timing of the death of a SCOTUS justice is critical. If one dies under a liberal president, he will nominate a liberal to take his place. If one dies under a Conservative president, he will nominate a Conservative. This has a huge sway on every decision going forward – and the decisions of the SCOTUS affect the entire US and override state law.
Justice Scalia was one of the 4 Conservatives on the bench. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan and has been a huge asset to the bench for Conservatives. He has now passed on within months of the next president being elected. So he has died under Obama. Obama is likely licking his lips to fill his place with a Liberal progressive, which, looking at the ideological make up of the justices now, will ensure a slam dunk liberal outcome for every single decision that goes to the SCOTUS going forward. By way of example, if the right to bear arms hits the SCOTUS under a liberal majority bench, the outcome would be to limit that right as much as possible – and there are many ways to infringe on the 2nd Amendment if you have a majority Liberal SCOTUS giving their ‘interpretation’ of the Constitution (I put the word ‘interpretation’ in inverted commas because in my opinion, they have gone past ‘interpretation’ of the law in recent years and have moved into the realm of writing law with some of their decisions).
My point is that I think the death of Scalia is going to cause the political bun fight of the century. Twitter has blown up with tweets from prominent Liberals mocking Scalia in his death saying things like “I hope he died from gay sex”… “Remember to separate his head from his body before burying him”… “Now he will know what it’s like to have the government own his body” and “My neighbour is singing and dancing about Scalia’s death”. Liberals are obviously also saying “Obama must appoint another justice quickly!” Conservatives on the other hand are saying things like “We owe it to Scalia to have the NEXT president appoint his successor” …. “The Senate has to confirm or reject the nominee and Republicans hold the Senate” and “The Senate better not confirm an Obama nominee.” There is so much at stake with this appointment that I can see both sides fighting to the death on this one. Many are saying (and I agree) – everything hangs in the balance on this appointment.