One dead man, two riled parties

Anna Sipek

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep on February 13, leaving both democrats and republicans scrambling for the vacant seat.  Currently, there is a governmental standstill, with a republican majority in Senate, a Democrat as president, and a 4-4 balance in the judicial branch.

As President, Mr. Obama has the right to nominate the next supreme court justice; however, Senate republicans have vowed to back Majority Leader Mitch  McConnell in his plans to block any nominations the president sets forth. McConnell justified the adverse response, stating “the American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.”  

Others have argued that as the nomination comes so late in his term, and during an election year, the nomination should simply wait for the next president elect. Obama responded at a press conference which ended a summit with Southeast Asian leaders: “There’s no unwritten law that says it can only be done on off years…I intend to do my job between now and January 20 of 2017.”

Democratic senators have responded, clearly contending the constitutional necessity of a new Justice. Of all 46 democratic senators, 44 have asserted they would support Obama nominating the justice. Comparatively, of 54 republicans, only 29 have pledged support to McConnell’s plan.

If the plans to postpone the Supreme Court issue succeed, the 2016 election will have considerably larger stakes. The following president could determine the ideological skew of the government for years to come.