There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the Supreme Court with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Will Durst is here to help.
Q. Has the issue of Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court turned a mite political?
A. You could say that. You could also say that flight simulation wind-tunnels are tough on comb-overs.
Q. How long after the first Italian U.S. Supreme Court Justice’s death did it take to get ugly?
A. Within minutes of the discovery of the body, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to keep the seat vacant until after the November presidential election. It probably took longer for a family of five to order dessert at Applebee’s.
Q. Is he alone?
A. No, every Republican in North America echoed his sentiments, especially the six remaining GOP presidential candidates who see this as a big red flag to wave at supporters. And since unemployment is below 5% percent and gas around $2 a gallon, they can use all the issues they can get.
Q. What about the Democrats?
A. Same thing, only different. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton want President Obama to immediately nominate someone they can use to rally the base, preferably a single-mother lesbian Hispanic with a limp and agoraphobia.
Q. So we’re playing hardball here.
A. We sidled way past hardball in 2009. This is 9-inch steel ball-bearing ball.
Q. What is the make-up of the remaining court?
A. One justice appointed by Reagan, one by George H. Walker Bush, two by George W. Bush, two by Clinton and two by Obama. Four Republicans and four Democrats. Five are Roman Catholics and three are Jewish. Although most decisions will depend on which side of the bed Anthony Kennedy wakes up.
Q. What was McConnell’s rationale?
A. To let the people decide which way the court swings with their choice of president.
Q. Didn’t the people already decide when they voted for Obama the last two elections?
A. When Democrats speak, Mitch McConnell doesn’t hear well.
Q. Does this mean a presidential term lasts only three years?
A. Not only that, once this precedent is set, the next Senate could embargo midterm years as well. Then the months of May through August could be off limits, since Congress is in recess.
Eventually, a commander-in-chief might only allowed to nominate a Supreme Court replacement on a Wednesday in the third week of September of odd numbered years.
Q. Can the court function with only eight members?
A. Yes. They’ve done it before. In 1790 they started out with six and each decision required a two-thirds majority, which today would make agreeing on a lunch schedule difficult.
Q. Isn’t Scalia the guy who said, “The only good Constitution is a dead Constitution?”
A. You nailed it. The irony is this strict originalist would be appalled at his death being used for political purposes. Ain’t life odd?
Q. I’ll ask the questions. If Republicans stymie another Obama nominee, will it be viewed as more obstructionism?
A. Hasn’t hurt them so far. Of course a series of 4-4 ties would focus attention on the vacancy like blood on snow.
Q. Could Obama nominate himself?
A. Yeah. That’s what Republicans want. HIM shaping law in a lifetime appointment. That and scorpions duct-taped to their underwear.
Q. Might this lead to a further breakdown in bipartisan relations?
A. As my daddy used to say, “Can’t kill what’s already dead.”