By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Sunday, February 14, US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died on Saturday. While still mourning his death, the political power struggle over whether President Obama or the next President will appoint the next justice has begun in earnest in the hours that followed.
US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said, “This great loss brings on a great responsibility for the United States Senate. Justice Scalia’s replacement should be considered carefully and thoughtfully because it is vital to our nation’s future that we confirm a justice who will continue his legacy. I will adamantly oppose any attempt by President Obama to fill this vacancy during the remainder of his term.”
Charles Nana, who is one of two Democrats vying for Shelby’s seat disagrees. Nana said on Facebook, “With all due respect Senator Shelby, the vast majority of the American people find it offensive for you to think let alone voice an opposition to the duely elected President of the United States not to do his job. Elections have consequences Mr. Shelby and the last time I checked, he was serving a full second term. I do understand, you will prefer he abandons his duties as you have abandoned your duties towards your constituencies in places like Fairfield, Anniston, Birmingham, Black belt and the list continues. Mr. President, please save the nation from having a vacancy at the supreme court by appointing a replacement within this congress recess.”
Senator Shelby’s primary challenger, Jonathan McConnell agrees with Shelby on this. The former Marine Corp Captain McConnell said, “If there was ever a time we needed Republicans in the Senate to stand up and say no to President Obama, it is now. Allowing Justice Antonin Scalia to be replaced by another hard-Left Obama nominee will stack the court against our Constitution, and against the Rule of Law. With less than a year until a new, likely Republican, President is inaugurated, Republican leadership must do whatever it takes to ensure Justice Scalia will not be replaced by a lame duck administration.”
GOP Presidential contender New York City billionaire and reality TV star Donald Trump said during Saturday’s Republican debate that the Senate should, “Delay, delay, delay.” “I hope that the Senate is going to be able, Mitch and the entire group, is going to be able to do something about it in terms of delay.” Trump said. “You could have a Diane Sykes or you could have a Bill Pryor. We have some fantastic people, but this is a tremendous blow to conservatism. It’s a tremendous blow, frankly, to our country.”
Republican Presidential Candidate and US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) vowed to filibuster any Obama nominee: “This should be a decision for the people. Let the election decide. If the Democrats want to replace this nominee, they need to win the election. But I don’t think the American people want a court that will strip our religious liberties. I don’t think the American people want a court that will mandate unlimited abortions on demand, partial birth abortion with taxpayer funding and no parental notification and I don’t think the American people want a court that will write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution.”
President Obama said, “I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time.” “There’s plenty of time…for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. These are responsibilities I take seriously as should everyone.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) defended President Obama’s position. The Democratic Presidential Candidate said, “The Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail who are calling for Justice Scalia’s seat to remain vacant dishonor our Constitution.” “The Senate has a constitutional responsibility here that it cannot abdicate for partisan political reasons.” Hillary has in the past said that Barack Obama would be a good nominee for the US Supreme Court.
State Representative Mack Butler (R from Rainbow City) wrote on Facebook, “Article 2, Section 2 of the US Constitution provides that the president shall nominate, and by and with the advise and consent of the senate, shall appoint judges of the Supreme Court. No where does it require they act. The Republican senate must NOT advise or consent on any Obama nomination.” “Our nation is at stake here. Obama does not share our love or views of America.”
State Representative Jack Williams (R-Vestavia) said, “The Constitution Does Not Require the Senate to Vote on a Nomination.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said in a statement on Scalia’s death, “Today our country lost an unwavering champion of a timeless document that unites each of us as Americans. Justice Scalia’s fidelity to the Constitution was rivaled only by the love of his family: his wife Maureen his nine children, and his many grandchildren. Through the sheer force of his intellect and his legendary wit, this giant of American jurisprudence almost singlehandedly revived an approach to constitutional interpretation that prioritized the text and original meaning of the Constitution. Elaine and I send our deepest condolences to the entire Scalia family.” “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.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R from Iowa) said, “Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court Justice.”
Many media sources are reporting that Srikanth “Sri” Srinivasan would be the likely appointee.
This is likely to remain a contentious issue and could be a factor in the November elections.