By Mallory Richards
Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead of natural causes Saturday, February 13th, in Shafter, Texas. Supreme Court Justice of 30 years, originally appointed by Ronald Reagan, this came as a blow to conservatives—and a game changer in the upcoming presidential election. Scalia was dependably conservative, and his death presented an opportunity for President Obama to replace him and get a democrat onto the Supreme Court as a last hurrah of his eight-year presidency.
Republicans, however, weren’t eager to let this happen. Though it is in a president’s constitutional right, and duty, to nominate a Supreme Court Justice, Republicans are lobbying for the suspension of nominating a new justice. Reminder: a couple of big ticket items are coming up for the Supreme Court this year, i.e. abortion, immigration, etc., hence Scalia’s death throwing a wrench into an already complex election year.
Led by Kentucky Senator, Mitch McConnell, argue that no confirmation hearings will happen until Obama is out of the White House. This seems unlikely, as he is still president, and is acting within his presidential rights to nominate a new Justice. The appointment of a new Justice has the power to tip the Supreme Court, making it Democrat-heavy, so Obama has a lot of incentive to get things done quickly. Clinton and Sanders stand behind Obama, while, no surprise, Republican candidates like Cruz and Trump are ready to fight this.
Nominee-to-Watch: Sri Srinivasan, 49, son of Indian immigrants, a member of the US Court of Appeals of District of Columbia, appointed by Obama.