Scalia Death Big Test
For Washington Republicans
The sad new broke recently that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had passed away while staying at the 30,000-acre luxury Texas ranch belonging to Houston businessman John Poindexter.
His sudden death will have a major effect on the 2016 presidential elections. Many think that the heightened political atmosphere could be one of the factors leading to the largest electoral turnout in United States history.
Filling the Supreme Court vacancy will certainly dominate political coverage for the rest of the year. But it will be a bigger test for Republican Senators and Congressmen seeking re-election than it will be for the presidential candidates.
Will Obama Be Stopped?
Lame duck or not, Obama will do his best to appoint his choice before he leaves office.
He has already shown his contempt for Justice Scalia by preferring to go to his golf game than show respect and attend the funeral. In his own inimitable style Donald Trump wondered whether Obama would have attended Justice Scalia’s funeral Mass “if it were held in a mosque.” I think we probably know the answer to that.
But Obama’s lack of respect does not come as a great shock. He has acted like a complete ass since taking office and has brought the US Presidency to a new low in the eyes of the American people – and of the world.
Will Republicans Stop Him?
The big question is, will the Republican Party’s career politicians in Washington stop Obama, or, as they have done on previous occasions, cave in and give him everything he wants?
If they do fight Obama on this issue, in most cases it will only be because they have to go back to their constituencies to seek re-election, not because they have discovered their principles or suddenly grown some backbone.
If they don’t fight Obama then the likelihood is that Republican voters will not turn out to get them re-elected. Thirty-four of the 100 seats in the Senate are being contested in November as are all 435 congressional districts across each of the 50 U.S. states so a lot is at stake.
Failing to try to stop Obama, along with the consequent voter rebellion, would most probably mean the loss of Senate and Congress to the Democrats again. That would make it more difficult for the new President, especially if he was a Republican and called Donald Trump.
Signs Of Capitulation
Predictably there are already signs of another spineless Republican capitulation. Many think that Senate Republicans (despite a lot of meaningless big talk from McConnell, Rubio, and Cruz) are getting ready to cave in again and let Obama tip the balance on the Supreme Court.
In a statement that was clearly the forerunner to a capitulation, Grassley said, “I would wait until the nominee is made before I would make any decision. In other words, take it a step at a time.”
All May Not Be Lost
However, all may not be lost, because the career politicians are coming under pressure from their constituents. It is part of the movement that has grown up around Donald Trump’s entrance into the presidential race. Ordinary citizens, once known as the silent majority, have become reanimated. Now they are not going to take it anymore!
It looks like the Senate Judiciary Committee got the message okay, because, in contrast to its Chairman Chuck Grassley’s comments related above, the Republican Senators in charge of the Judiciary Committee made a bold announcement after a closed door meeting this week that there will be NO confirmation hearings for President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!
But The Cowards Are Always There
Less than a week after conservative leadership announced that there would be no vote on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, there are signs that the coalition is starting to crack.
Two moderate Republican Senators have broken ranks with GOP leadership. Both have declared their support for giving President Obama’s nominee to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court a hearing.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) have both indicated they believe the President has a right to appoint a successor to Justice Scalia and that the Senate has a duty to consider that nominee.
What Happens Next?
No doubt it is too much to ask of the Republican Party to bring these cowardly Senators back into line. Only the voters will do that and the message needs to be sent to them and their local party offices that their action is unacceptable.
If the Washington Republicans stick to their guns – and for the entire time of Obama’s tenure in the Oval Office, not just until after they are re-elected, then this will be a crushing defeat for the current President.
It would remove the threat of the Supreme Court spending the next two or three decades enacting a radical left-wing agenda that is destroying America.