Saturday, February 13 was a tough night for conservatives everywhere. First, we had the bloodbath that was the ninth GOP debate that pitted Trump against Bush and Cruz and Rubio against Cruz. Second, and more tragically, our nation lost one of its Supreme Court justices, Antonin Scalia, who passed away at age 79.
Justice Scalia was a brilliant man who fulfilled his duty to the Constitution well. He will be missed terribly. The question we are left to ask is this: Who will replace him? Better yet, who could?
Few could replace his “larger-than-life presence on the bench”, as President Obama noted, but President Obama is sure to try. Much to the left’s chagrin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
In response, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said that “failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.” This statement is only partially true. It is the Senate’s responsibility to approve nominees, but it is not their job to approve just any nominee- that is what Senator Reid is forgetting, and he’s hoping that Senate Republicans will forget this too.
Thus, it is the Senate Republicans chance to stem the tide of progressivism in this nation’s government. If they fail to take it, that could be the end to conservatism as we know it.
Two presidential candidates, Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have already pledged to oppose whomever President Obama nominates. Those who do not get a say in the matter, like the remaining governors in the race, are more sympathetic to the president, saying they would likely appoint someone had they been in the same position.
Jon Prior at Politico made an important observation that the
governor-senator split appears minor, for now, but it could widen should Obama nominate a moderate or even slightly conservative justice — forcing the GOP to pick between a compromise outcome now or a big gamble on winning the White House in November.
That may in fact be the case, as D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sri Srinivasan has already appeared on a short list for potential nominees. He served in the Bush administration in the Office of the Solicitor General and was confirmed to his current position by a 97-0 vote. If he does end up being the nominee, it will be difficult to say no, and that puts Republicans in a pickle.