On Feb. 13, 2016, a man whose conservative theories almost single-handedly changed the scope of the Supreme Court died of natural causes. This man’s name was Antonin Scalia. As soon as Scalia entered the Supreme Court, he immediately made the type of impact that Richard Nixon was searching for. Established as a man who led the conservative intellectual renaissance, Antonin Scalia sat on the court for three decades for many essential cases that have occurred.
Scalia quickly became a prominent figure in the Supreme Court due to his originalist ideologies, which pertains to his perception of the Constitution deriving from the meaning of the original drafters. Although Scalia wasn’t the chief justice, many people saw him as one of the most essential members of the court. One of prominent example of his judicial excellence appeared through the District of Columbia V. Heller. This case reaffirmed the power of the second amendment, in which Scalia pronounced the 5-4 majority decision.
The death of Antonin Scalia has created a vacancy on a court that has often had split decisions in favor of the conservative side within recent years. This event has become more politicized than anything else and this is the exact opposite of what Scalia would have wanted.
Over the years, he has been able to witness the massive political transformation of the judicial sphere. He has changed his views to believe that “one shudders to think what sort of political turmoil will greet the next nomination to the Supreme Court.” This statement occurred in a 2004 speech, but still has very much relevance to this day.
It has been less than a week since the death occurred, yet the number one thought in everyone’s mind is who will succeed the late Antonin Scalia. This provides his successor no easy task to fulfill. President Obama is now faced with the tumultuous decision of nominating a successor, which he feels will be the best representation of the court. With the presidential election looming, this provides a large impediment to anything that Obama may wish to occur.
Due to the conservative majority in the Supreme Court for many years, there are questions as to what political view the nominated candidate would have. Most people are currently speculating on Obama nominating a liberal to change the balance of power in the court. After Obama would elect a nominee, then that person would be heard by a republican-led senate. It is hard to believe that the senate would approve any liberal candidate for the Supreme Court, which causes a conflict of interest within the court.
If a Supreme Court justice is not named before the new president is placed in office, then this could lead to a period of stagnation in the court. As more cases have resulted in 5-4 decisions recently, this issue causes a problem in regards to many different split decisions that may occur in cases. It’s hard to resolve most problems in American contemporary society due to the politicization of the judicial sphere; however American’s need to accept the fact that this has become a standard of society and needs to be embraced in order to progress further.