“This could change everything.”
That was my first reaction to seeing the news that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had died. Now after some thought, I realized that that is not a respectable reaction to someone dying. This is a man who had been in the Supreme Court for almost thirty years, and my first reaction was what is going to happen next. I am disappointed in myself that I did not take the time to reflect on the life and impact Scalia had on the country.
I’m sorry to say that I was not alone in thinking about the next step. Barely any time after the news of Scalia’s death had broke did Senate Republicans say that they would block any person that President Barack Obama would nominate to the bench. That should not have been their first response to this man’s death. Any person that has served on the Supreme Court deserves more than a simple, “I’m praying for his or her family. Now let’s make sure the opposition doesn’t benefit from this tragedy,” from a sitting legislator.
The D.C. elites moved so fast on to the next thing it’s like they seem to have forgotten about the legacy Scalia left. They seem to have forgotten how his bombastic presence on the bench during oral arguments and tone in his biting dissents to major court decisions, like Lawrence v. Texas and the Obamacare case, changed the court and the country forever.
They seem to have forgotten that Justice Scalia had nine children with his wife, Maureen, of 45 years. His death was not expected, so his family must be in serious pain from their loss. The last thing they would want to hear from Capitol Hill is more fighting.
They seem to have forgotten that Scalia brought a level of intelligence to the Court that could not be denied. His intellect and conviction to always defend the Constitution and bow to no master besides the supreme law of the land, had a lasting impression on the United States.
But you never would have known that if you talked to lawmakers in Washington. They’re too busy squabbling about whether or not the president should or should not nominate a new justice in an election year. Which, by the way, is not even a worthwhile argument. Reagan nominated Justice Anthony Kennedy in an election year in 1988 and so did many other presidents in the past. So not only is this a completely disrespectful argument to have during what should be a mourning period for people in government and all across the nation, but it’s just plain dumb.
I realize that nominating a Supreme Court justice has a great impact on the country and people in Washington want to pick the right replacement for Scalia. But can’t we all just take a minute, pause, and reflect on the life Scalia led and his impact on the country? Then we can go back to the normal argle-bargle of politics.