Well, it didn’t take long for the death of Antonin Scalia to turn into a right mess. As you’re well aware it took a matter of seconds for the right to vow to block any Obama nominee, well, because, of course they believe they will return to power.
You may not be aware that it took only a few seconds more for the conspiracy theories to start. That the resort owners statement of “a pillow over his head” (ie:behind his head) actually meant it was over his face. Calls demanding an autoposy, against the express wishes of his family (based in no small part on their Roman Catholic beliefs). Endless insinuations that more should investigation should have been done, because, you know, trained police officers in one of the most conservative parts of the most conservative state, investigating the death of an overwight man with numerous health issues and risk factors, on a highly secured resort catering to (only) the rich and powerful, somehow must be wrong in their assertions that there was no evidence to suggest foul play.
And it only took a moment longer for the right to trot out a line from Schumer in 2007 at a talk suggesting the blocking of any more Bush nominees. Never mind that this was a moot point- there were no more Bush nominees. Nor that this view was never embraced by the party nor his fellow senators. Nor that it is taken out of context- that he was discussing the two Bush appointees that the Senate moved quickly to approve- two appointees who many- including Republicans such as Arlen Specter felt lied to the senate in hearings- and who moved quickly to overturn many long standing legal precedents- something most legal scholars- both conservative and liberal generally agree is a bad course of action and a signature of the (much maligned by the right) “judicial activist”.
And of course- now things will get truly interesting- on many levels.
Will Obama nominate one of the previous expected frontrunners, conservative liberals who he previously would have expected to at least have a chance of being approved? Or will he use the promised blockade to nominate a real liberal to simply make a political statement?
Will the right allow the important cases before the court to be decided on this year without Scalia on the court? Cases that will either go to the liberals or go to a tie (which will uphold the lower court ruling, without setting national precedent, which in most cases will uphold a “liberal” lower court ruling?
Can the highly fractured right agree that potentially allowing Trump or Cruz a nominee to the court is wiser then allowing Obama a conservative, middle of the road nominee.
Will GOP senators, especially those facing re-election battles, be willing to be percieved as overly partisan and snubbing the constitution? Or willing to face the potential fundraising and voter turnout windfall of demcrats and centrist republicans.
And what of the remaining SCOTUS members? Particularly the “Swing votes”. Will they be disgusted by the politics and swing against the conservatives- in the short or the long term?