The immediate politicization of Mr. Scalia’s death, particularly by the Republicans, just seems a bit tacky, disrespectful, and opportunistic.
There’s no visible, widespread mourning for the Supreme Court Justice who yesterday died of natural causes at a luxury resort in Texas. In its place is, however, politics as usual, from both sides of the aisle. Shortly after Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday was pronounced dead at age 79, Mr. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader and a republican representing the State of Kentucky, released a statement that suggested Mr. Barack Obama, the sitting President of the United States, not appoint a replacement, as is his constitutional duty, but rather allow the next President, who’ll be elected in January, to have that honor.
“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,” Mr. McConnell wrote on Facebook.
In his brief televised acknowledgment of Mr. Scalia’s passing in which he didn’t wear a tie, Mr. Obama said he will, in due time, appoint a replacement. Prior to Mr. Obama’s remarks, Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Mr. Ted Cruz asserted in a tweet that, in homage to the deceased, “the Senate must ensure that the next President names his replacement.” Mr. Cruz on a Sunday morning talk show went as far as to suggest that if either Democratic presidential candidate or Mr. Trump is elected, their appointment to the Supreme Court would write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution.
Also in opposition to Mr. Obama’s impending nomination is Mr. Marco Rubio, the Florida Senator who, too, is campaigning for the presidency and who during Saturday’s debate appeared much more lively than the one which preceded it. Mr. Rubio, as did Mr. Cruz, implied that Mr. Obama, who has roughly 11 months left as President, neither deserves, nor has the right to, make the life-long appointment to the highest court in the land. Arguing in defense of the President who was twice elected are both Democratic presidential candidates – Mr. Bernie Sanders and Mrs. Hillary Clinton – and Ms. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Senator who in a statement released today said in part:
“Senator McConnell is right that the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court Justice. In fact, they did – when President Obama won the 2012 election by five million voters.”
It’s true that Mr. Obama has the constitutional authority to make the appointment. And it’s also true that the death of a Supreme Court Justice is inherently political. But neither fact negates the truth that a loss of life no matter how controversial the figure, should be treated with a measure of decorum. The immediate politicization of Mr. Scalia’s death, particularly by the Republicans, just seems a bit tacky, disrespectful, and opportunistic; and I would imagine it exacerbates the grief of those who truly treasured his life. There are people who, following the bad news, became overwhelm with sadness and there appears to be no consideration for them, as politicos and pundits, instead of marveling in his legacy, debate who should have the right to replace him.
This behavior doesn’t reflect American values … then again, maybe it does.
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