Top of the afternoon to all.
It has been a while since I have written. I hope you have not forgotten about me.
You are all likely aware by now that US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died. He was a legal giant who sat on the Supreme Court for three decades. For those of you who are to the more liberal side in your politics, I hope this is not how you would have wanted him to depart the bench. That being said, he was the scion of conservative jurisprudence. The US legal system will feel his absence. Like him or dislike him, his influence on the Court will be felt for decades.
According to the US Constitution, the nomination of justices to the Supreme Court is the responsibility of the President, pending approval by the Senate. Over the last 30 years, this has become an increasingly partisan issue, much to my chagrin. With the partisan nature of Washington politics, a Democratic President will not be able to get a nomination past a Republican Senate, especially during a presidential election year.
As such, those on the political right are saying that the President should not nominate a justice, but rather let it wait until after January 20th, 2017, when there is a new POTUS. Those on the left are saying he should nominate now, as the Supreme Court should not be without its full complement of justices for what will be over a year.
Those arguing both sides are doing a lousy job concealing the political rancour that has been the hallmark of US politics over the last several years.
My politics are somewhat right of centre, but not by much. With the right candidate, perhaps Mayor Bloomberg, they are somewhat left of centre, but not by much.
My politics are irrelevant here. I hold with those who are pushing for nomination now. It is not because the President should be concerned about a full complement of justices. It is not because of the elections in any way.
It is really very simple. The Constitution also says that the President is elected for a term of four years. By tradition, presidents held the office for two terms, until President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was elected four times. After his death, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, formally limiting presidents to two terms. The Constitution does not say that s/he is elected for four years, except on certain matters. Like him or not, President Obama's job continues until noon, January 20th, 2017. Failure to nominate a justice for the Supreme Court is an abdication of the responsibility that the American people have emphatically placed in his hands.
Whether he picks a liberal or a conservative, I hope that he picks someone whose intellect matches that of Justice Scalia.
May Justice Antonin Scalia rest in peace, and may all people on both sides of the political spectrum recognize his life of service to the country as well as his devotion to the foundation of its legal system.