What does the death of Justice Scalia mean for SCOTUS?

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  • #177114

    EGL Admin
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    This is going to set up a major battle between the President and Republicans. Very doubtful they allow him to appoint a successor and approve it before the next President takes the oath. We could be without a full SCOTUS for well over a year. If the next President is a democrat and the GOP controls the Congress there will be a fight over that. If the President is a Republican then it should be a smoother approval process. The President does have a right to nominate someone now. It’s part of his job. He’s still the President until January of 2017. If was allowed to appoint someone and it was approved and if the next President is a democrat then that will change the SCOTUS for a long time as it will give the left 4 justices plus Anthony Kennedy.

  • #292537

    SteveB6509
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    I bet one of two things happens:

    1. He nominates a mildly Conservative justice – one who has some Conservative traits but is still more of the Left of Scalia (not hard to do). The Republicans would have trouble denying that nominee and the net result would be a shift Left in the Court,

    2. Another justice (Ruth Bader Ginsberg) resigns and Obama tries to come to an agreement with the Senate that he nominates one Liberal and one justice like #1.

  • #292541

    plasmadrive
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    @steveb6509 124223 wrote:

    I bet one of two things happens:

    1. He nominates a mildly Conservative justice – one who has some Conservative traits but is still more of the Left of Scalia (not hard to do). The Republicans would have trouble denying that nominee and the net result would be a shift Left in the Court,

    2. Another justice (Ruth Bader Ginsberg) resigns and Obama tries to come to an agreement with the Senate that he nominates one Liberal and one justice like #1.

    interesting ideas..

    How about Ginsberg is found dead and the congress won’t let O install anyone! no..no wait.. I am dreaming.. must wake up..

  • #292511

    EGL Admin
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    @plasmadrive 124224 wrote:

    interesting ideas..

    How about Ginsberg is found dead and the congress won’t let O install anyone! no..no wait.. I am dreaming.. must wake up..

    I thought she was already dead. 🙂

    Steve, that would be interesting, but I doubt Obama would consider doing that. He’s going to nominate a liberal and then accuse congress of obstruction and hope that it hurts them in November. It does make the election even more important because it’s likely there will be another vacancy during the next 4 years.

  • #292538

    SteveB6509
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    Actually, a slight modification on my thought. He will nominate a hyper-Liberal who he knows won’t get through…then he will nominate someone more Conservative (as #1 above). This will force the Senate to reject a nominee twice (or accept his second nominee).

  • #292526

    newmom
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    I agree with Steve’s second prediction. Obama is going to want to get someone appointed-having a justice nominated and appointed to the SCOTUS keeps Obama in the record books much longer and can possibly change the view people have of him 25 years from now, depending on the decisions the justice makes. He will first nominate someone extremely liberal, then nominate a more moderate candidate who is more palatable to middle America.

  • #292512

    EGL Admin
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    I think that is wishful thinking. If he nominates far left liberal then that will waste enough time that the there won’t be a second nomination because by that time it will be closer to the election and the GOP will have an easier time of saying, let’s let the new President choose someone. I don’t see the GOP falling for that bait and switch.

    Maybe it’s always been this way, but it’s interesting that almost immediately after it was announced that Scalia has died that people started thinking about how this would play out. That was first thing that crossed my mind, oh crap now Obama gets to appoint another justice to replace a conservative and that tilts the court the other way.

  • #292527

    newmom
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    It’s not about the GOP not falling for it-it’s the GOP wanting to show the American public they aren’t the obstructionists the Dems have claimed they are for the last 8 years. With an election coming up, the GOP doesn’t want the American people to think they aren’t willing to work with the Dems for the good of the country.

  • #292513

    EGL Admin
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    So they are going to take a moderate liberal to make it look good? Yeah, I don’t think so. You think you’re the only ones who are thinking this? “Darn it, those liberals really tricked us this time!”
    By the time that happens it will be late summer and they will just put it off for the next President. I don’t think they will approve anyone he nominates

  • #292528

    newmom
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    Its not a trick, and it’s not trying to pull anything. The first choice isn’t usually the real nominee. You don’t think Obama-and any other president for that matter-has a list of people they would nominate ready in the event of an unexpected death of a justice? Some of those guys are old. They shouldn’t put appointment off though, and that’s the point. We should not have to wait a year to have another SC justice because of politics. They should be willing to work together for the good of the country, and the appointing of a justice during an election year is no reason not to agree on someone. If a Rep were in office right now you wouldn’t say the Dems should block anyone-you would say they need to work together and get it done. Obama won’t ultimately put forward a very liberal nominee. The GOP needs to put politics aside and truly look at a nominee-not simply block everyone because Obama nominated them. It only serves to make the GOP look petty and more extreme.

  • #292522

    joy
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    So in the meantime, does the court continue to make decisions? What happens if there is a tie? (High school government was soooo long ago 😉 )

    There are some big cases in the works, including the CA union case.

  • #292529

    newmom
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    I have no idea if this article is accurate or not, but *if* this is correct, then if there is a tie, then lower court decisions stand…. waiting a year to have a new justice essentially means we have no SCOTUS for at least 1-1.5 years. How’s that following the Constitution? All because some people will refuse to compromise?
    http://nypost.com/2016/02/14/scalias-death-could-void-supreme-court-decisions/

  • #292514

    EGL Admin
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    The SCOTUS is not above politics. They are appointed based on their politics and philosophy. I’m sure the president has a short list of candidates. What you’re proposing is a trick of sorts. He will choose a far left appointee, knowing it has no chance only to then choose someone more moderate. How is that not a game? If he’s serious then make one choice. I don’t think he played that game with Sotomayor. He chose a far left person knowing he had the majority. Not all cases will end in a tie. They aren’t always 5-4.

  • #292530

    newmom
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    It’s not a trick and it happens every time people are nominated and has been that way for a long time, not just for SCOTUS.

    Saying it’s not above politics doesn’t make it right. Is politics as usual working these days? If the Dems did what you are proposing you would think it was ridiculous and were being obstructionists.

  • #292520

    adiffer
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    What this means is our old Civil War has moved into the SCOTUS now full and proper. We have factions claiming turf (seats) as if they owned them and they are willing to stop the functions of government to protect their turf. McConnell said as much when he said nobody would be considered.

    The GOP has openly become the new Confederacy.

  • #292515

    EGL Admin
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    @newmom 124245 wrote:

    It’s not a trick and it happens every time people are nominated and has been that way for a long time, not just for SCOTUS.

    Saying it’s not above politics doesn’t make it right. Is politics as usual working these days? If the Dems did what you are proposing you would think it was ridiculous and were being obstructionists.

    The Dems have a history here. The blocked Bork and then had all the hearings on Thomas with Anita Hill.

    What you’re taking about is a game though. Nominating someone you know won’t be confirmed and then the second time nominating a more moderate person. Why not just nominate the more moderate person first?

  • #292516

    EGL Admin
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    @newmom 124245 wrote:

    It’s not a trick and it happens every time people are nominated and has been that way for a long time, not just for SCOTUS.

    Saying it’s not above politics doesn’t make it right. Is politics as usual working these days? If the Dems did what you are proposing you would think it was ridiculous and were being obstructionists.

    The Dems have a history here. The blocked Bork and then had all the hearings on Thomas with Anita Hill.

    What you’re taking about is a game though. Nominating someone you know won’t be confirmed and then the second time nominating a more moderate person. Why not just nominate the more moderate person first? If it goes until summer then it will be easier to just say let the next president choose at that point.

  • #292531

    newmom
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    You don’t think the Anita Hill situation warranted hearings? Really?

  • #292532

    newmom
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    @EGL Admin 124258 wrote:

    The Dems have a history here. The blocked Bork and then had all the hearings on Thomas with Anita Hill.

    What you’re taking about is a game though. Nominating someone you know won’t be confirmed and then the second time nominating a more moderate person. Why not just nominate the more moderate person first? If it goes until summer then it will be easier to just say let the next president choose at that point.

    Because the GOP has made it clear that any candidate that they will shoot down any candidate that is nominated. Several “leaders” have literally said they will block any and all nominations. How mature is that? Why not say they will look at and evaluate the nominees at least?

  • #292542

    plasmadrive
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    @newmom 124261 wrote:

    Because the GOP has made it clear that any candidate that they will shoot down any candidate that is nominated. Several “leaders” have literally said they will block any and all nominations. How mature is that? Why not say they will look at and evaluate the nominees at least?

    Why should they lie about it? Given the poor history of O, the Republicans would be less than truthful if they said otherwise.

  • #292517

    EGL Admin
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    @newmom 124259 wrote:

    You don’t think the Anita Hill situation warranted hearings? Really?

    Not when compared to what President Clinton prior to being elected. It was ironic seeing liberals up in arms over sexual harassment over Thomas.

  • #292521

    adiffer
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    @plasmadrive 124267 wrote:

    Why should they lie about it? Given the poor history of O, the Republicans would be less than truthful if they said otherwise.

    It’s his constitutional duty they are thwarting. Presidents pick nominees… not the Senate.

  • #292533

    newmom
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    @EGL Admin 124269 wrote:

    Not when compared to what President Clinton prior to being elected. It was ironic seeing liberals up in arms over sexual harassment over Thomas.

    That’s like your complaints when people point to Bush as an excuse for things. One does not negate the other. The events were either worthy of a hearing or they weren’t.

  • #292518

    EGL Admin
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    No one stopping him from doing it. They are just saying they won’t approve the nominee.

  • #292534

    newmom
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    @plasmadrive 124267 wrote:

    Why should they lie about it? Given the poor history of O, the Republicans would be less than truthful if they said otherwise.

    They were elected by the people of the US and one of their duties and responsibilities is to actually consider nominees for the SCOTUS. To dismiss candidates without even knowing who they are or what their background might be is a dereliction of duty. Just because they don’t like the president or his politics doesn’t mean they don’t have to do their jobs. They should consider any candidate that is nominated. It’s not right to just say they won’t consider any candidate he nominates.

  • #292523

    LC
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    @newmom 124285 wrote:

    They were elected by the people of the US and one of their duties and responsibilities is to actually consider nominees for the SCOTUS. To dismiss candidates without even knowing who they are or what their background might be is a dereliction of duty. Just because they don’t like the president or his politics doesn’t mean they don’t have to do their jobs. They should consider any candidate that is nominated. It’s not right to just say they won’t consider any candidate he nominates.

    This is actually correct and a part of the Constitutional rights and duties. I think the reaction from the Leader was strong, but when the news came out about Scalia’s passing Obama didn’t even finish whatever he was watching on ESPN before he rushed to announce he was going to appoint someone. The passing was merely an asterisk, it was like, yeah, Scalia, sorry ’bout that.

    But, Newmom, you’re aware that the Democrats, including Obama himself, have done the same thing for years, correct? It’s just that it isn’t righ regardless of who does it.

  • #292535

    newmom
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    I agree that it isn’t right regardless of who does it. It’s a responsibility of the position they are elected to and sworn to uphold. But they have vetted justice nominees and cleared them, right? Roberts was confirmed with Dem votes- http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00245#position.

    I don’t recall people saying they refused to consider him.
    It’s one thing to not confirm a nominated justice. It’s another thing to outright say they won’t consider anyone.

  • #292524

    LC
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    I don’t know, and anything I might “know” is 100% Internet search results, and I won’t pretend otherwise, because I haven’t paid that much attention in the past, except for Sotomayor (this is what the GOP wants to avoid) and Kagan (good hire–great laugh too). Obviously there is a buzz of memes and recounting of the Dems trying to block lame duck appointments from GOP presidents, going back in recent history to Eisenhauer, so it’s tantamount to the same thing. All they have to do is open and close the hearing in 5 minutes with a denial, so not much difference either way.

    Still, I don’t agree with it. I think from a strategy standpoint it’s a poor choice. I did look at Article 2 and I don’t think the Senate is obligated to do much in the way of consideration, and certainly not within any time frame. I’m sure the Leader is within his rights to deny a hearing “for now”. i just don’t think it’s the smartest approach.

  • #292519

    EGL Admin
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    Who spoke up first on this issue, Obama or the GOP? I thought the GOP did.

  • #292536

    newmom
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    I thought the GOP did too, but that could be the sites I was reading his death on reporting like that. In the same articles I read about his death, GOP leaders and presidential candidates were quoted as saying they would block any nomination Obama put out. I didn’t read any article saying he would nominate someone until late Monday night. Not like I didn’t like Obama didn’t already have a list of nominees ready or that he wouldn’t actually nominate someone.

    Is there a candidate you think Obama could nominate and you could think is a good candidate? There are lots of names floating around.

  • #292525

    LC
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    Yes, Eugene Volokh, but he won’t look at him because he’s a Constitutionalist. He’s also foreign born, I don’t know if that matters. He’ll want an advocate like Sotomayor. I think the GOP spoke first too, but Obama didn’t waste any time responding and positioning. You’d think he’d at least have some memorial thoughts about Scalia first. Plus, he’s on TV last night saying “the Constitution is pretty clear,” No, it isn’t. Not at all. It’s very vague on this. The Senate is not obligated to respond in a timely manner, if at all, with any discussion. There is virtually no one who feels they cannot refuse to consider a candidate, right or wrong.

  • #292539

    SteveB6509
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    I can see him nominating Angus King.

  • #292540

    SteveB6509
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    Senator from Maine.

  • #292543

    Bainc
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    This is why Presidential elections matter. The GOP needs to quit losing if they want to keep the court balanced/conservative. Maybe they should cave on the potential nominee and use it to show the GOP voters why they should show up in November.

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