The United States received the unfortunate news that one of it’s Supreme Court justices, Antonin Scalia, had passed away Feb. 13. He was 79-years-old at his passing and had lead an extraordinary legal career. He is regarded as one of the most influential justices of recent times.
While his passing is tragic, political pundits have already moved on to analyze the position this puts our nation in –- and it is a unique one. A GOP-led Senate could reject any nominations put forth by President Obama until his term in office expires. But what is the most wise action to take?
On one hand, Obama has already nominated two justices to the Supreme Court, and another liberal-leaning justice would certainly be a balance-tipper in the highest court in the land. So it is understandable why the GOP would want to delay the nomination of the next justice until Obama’s term comes to an end.
But there are a whole host of ways this could go wrong for the GOP. For one, if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders does indeed get elected instead of a Republican presidential candidate, then the denial of the justice nomination really will not have gotten them anywhere. All it will have done is afforded the new president a perfect platform to make a statement at the onset of their term.
And even if a Republican ends up winning, the political damage that could be done between now and then is not a write-off. This would again make the GOP seem like the “party of no,” ready and willing to shut down the government whenever things do not go quite their way. This would provide the Democrats with a barb during presidential debates and could further damage the reputation of the Republican Party.
It is these competing factors that the Republican senators will have to weigh as they consider what action to take in regards to any potential nominations. All that is sure for now is that Justice Scalia will be missed and the Supreme Court certainly will not be at optimal functioning capacity until he is eventually replaced –- whenever that ends up being.