Saturday, February 13, 2016

PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL NOT GET A SCALIA SUCCESSOR CONFIRMED

Shocking news:
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.

Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body.
I assumed Scalia was having too good a time to die before ninety. Poking liberals in the ribs and wallowing in his own exalted sense of himself seemed to be a youth tonic for him. I can't believe he's gone.

So now President Obama gets to nominate a successor, right? Yes, but I don't see much reason to hope that he can get a replacement approved. On this subject, Republicans are largely going to have message discipline. Many of them are going to argue, in all seriousness, that Obama is a lame duck, and therefore not really president, so he should let the next president replace Scalia. They'll say that we're in the midst of a campaign to choose his successor, so even offering up a nominee would be the height of arrogance. The Constitution says nothing of the sort, but these self-styled worshipers of our founding documents will talk as if Obama is betraying American values just by doing his job.

Once the president chooses a successor to Scalia, nearly every Republican will tell us that the nominee is the most radical person ever to be proposed as a Supreme Court justice -- no matter who it is. A party that's about to nominate Donald Trump for the presidency will declare one or two of the nominee's utterances, writings, or acts as unquestionably disqualifying -- and shocking.

And the press will accept all of this. It will all be treated as normal hardball, because look at what happened to Robert Bork thirty years ago!

Even if what Republicans do is treated as obstructionism, Obama will be held partly to blame, because, we'll be told, he didn't have drinks with members of Congress after work.

I don't know what kind of nominee we'll get from the president. He hasn't been much in the mood for compromise these days -- maybe he's going to pick a true progressive and let the chips fall where they may. But I think he won't want to squander this opportunity. He'll want to try to find someone who can get through the Senate. But there may not be any such person -- unless, of course, Obama were to nominate someone from a GOP wish list. Republicans will, in all seriousness, tell us that the president is being unreasonable because he isn't considering movement conservatives. They'll name some of the most right-wing jurists in America and ask why Obama didn't pick one of them. And when they say this, many in the press will nod in agreement.

****

UPDATE: As I was saying....
Almost immediately after the first public confirmation that Justice Antonin Scalia had died, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled that the GOP-controlled Senate would block President Obama from nominating Scalia's successor.

"The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice," McConnell said in a statement. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

McConnell's statement came as a chorus of conservatives called for the confirmation process to be delayed until the next President takes office in January 2017.

22 comments:

AllieG said...

He could nominate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). That'd put about six new splits in the Republican coalition. If they blocked a pro-choice one of their own, that'd raise a fuss.

the patroller said...

Isn' t it the case the the Congressional confirmation of Supreme Court appointments is only a courtesy gesture. Given how Obama has decided to act on his own before, perhaps he'll skip the niceties and just stick in his nominee. And if he really wants to stick it to the GOP he should nominate Susan Rice. ;-)

Blackstone said...

Here are the relevant questions for Mitch. Trump is the likely nominee, in the unlikely event he wins, do you really want him appointing anyone. If Trump is the nominee, the odds of a Democratic president go up. Would you prefer a Hillary or Sanders nominee? Maybe Mitch would prefer to his chances with a PBO nominee.

mathguy said...

Collins? Why nominate someone so useless, not to mention likely to keep the SC conservative as hell?

Speaking of hell:

Rot in Hell, Scalia. May your fetid soul never find peace.

Frank Moraes said...

I agree with everything you wrote. But I think the Republicans may be shooting themselves in the foot. I just wrote, What Scalia's Death Means for His Replacement. And I argue that Clinton would be in a much better position to nominate a liberal rather than the moderate Obama is sure to nominate. But the Republicans have not shown themselves to take decent deals when they are proposed.

Yastreblyansky said...

Steve, if Obama doesn't get a nominee through the election will be entirely about Roe v Wade and Obergefell. Do you think the Republicans really want that? I think they're bargaining.

Victor said...

May the incubi and sucubi never need a break, tormenting Scalia!

And I have a better chance of having a sleep-over with Charlize Theron on Valentine's Day, tomorrow, than of Obama naming either a permanent or interim replacement for that diseas... diceased sociopath!

Victor said...

Oy!
...dEceased...

Rollin M said...

On what date did Obama officially become a lame duck after which he's no longer allowed to nominate justices? I'm guessing to Republicans, the day after his election in 2012. So they're saying no president should nominate a justice when he's a lame duck. That means never to them. Also, too, when are we not in the midst of a presidential election? And, also, too, again, O'Connell said the people should have a say in who's nominated. Shouldn't the people who elected Obama (twice) have a say in who is nominated? Sheesh, these people truly are something.

Rollin M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve M. said...

Steve, if Obama doesn't get a nominee through the election will be entirely about Roe v Wade and Obergefell. Do you think the Republicans really want that?

Yes, if they think it rallies their base, too.

Steve M. said...

Also, they've now drawn a line in the sand -- their base will yell "Sellout!" if a nominee is confirmed. The GOP base literally doesn't believe Democrats should participate in government. Republicans can't give in.

AllieG said...

That's up to them, then. I hope (but do not expect) that the first Sunday morning question to McConnell is, if your party loses the Presidential election, will you allow the new President to name Supreme Court Justices? If not (and he'll weasel to the max), the Democratic nominee is entitled to call them enemies of constitution government who'll be treated accordingly.

Steve M. said...

He'll just say he knows with certainty that after seven years of Democratic rule the American people are fed up and he's certain the next president will be a Republican. And even if the follow-up is "Yes, but what if?" he won't budge from that talking point.

AllieG said...

It's not that easy for him. It begs the question, your presidential candidates are horrible clowns and by the way, who do you support?

Yastreblyansky said...

Oy.

Feud Turgidson said...

February 13, 2016 - a good day.

Steve M. said...

It's not that easy for him. It begs the question, your presidential candidates are horrible clowns and by the way, who do you support?

No one on a Sunday talk show would acknowledge the awfulness of the GOP field. Why, that would be liberal bias!

Aunt Snow said...

Have you visited Senator McConnell's facebook page? I have, and have scrolled through many comments. I did not find a single comment approving McConnell's statement. Everybody, even Republicans, were excoriating him for making this statement.

Victor said...

Just to fuck with the whole lot of 'em, I hope Obama says that he's considering naming Anita Hill to replace Scalia!

Then, we'll see who he nominates for Clarence Thomas' sopt, because his his head will explode like a full Coke can thrown from the space station, at the mere mention of her name!

Ten Bears said...

I can think of no better example of the overt obstructionism Obama has had to deal with. This could be the straw that breaks the Retardant Party's back.

Feud Turgidson said...

Awoke from a deep sleep to crisp morning, yet all about lay a sense I haven't even felt since the mid-Reagans. Is it to be Christmas from now on every day?