Carstens: Scalia’s death caused chaos

Courtney Carstens

A vacant seat for one of the most powerful spots in the country has sparked yet another war between the two political parties. The hypocrisy that has always seemed to be a small aspect of politics is shining now more than ever all because of one powerful, influential man’s death.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died Feb. 13 of a heart attack. Scalia’s death has now left an empty seat on the Supreme Court, and while President Barack Obama wants to find the best person available for the job, some Republicans do not intend to allow Obama to do his job.

For once it seems Obama is trying to do his job. It’s time for the Republicans to let him.

Scalia had been on the Supreme Court for decades and was well known as the original new originalist by his colleagues — a term invented by Paul Brest, a Stanford Law professor, for those who believed the text of the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted according to the original intentions of its framers.

“[Scalia’s] views on textualism and originalism, his views on the role of judges in our society, on the practice of judging, have really transformed the terms of legal debate in this country,” Justice Elena Kagan said. “He is the justice who has had the most important impact over the years on how we think and talk about law.”

Scalia played important roles in many facets of government; however, it seems the Republican party is only concerned with getting a conservative judge on the docket to fill Scalia’s place. The party seems to be forgetting that denying Obama the obligation to fill that spot is against the Constitution, although not directly.

The Republicans have found a loophole that Democrats have used before as the majority in both the House and the Senate. There is precedent for both Democrats and Republicans to keep rejecting the president’s choices for a new justice. I agree this could potentially make the Supreme Court the most liberal this country has seen in years and while I, like many, would not be in favor of that, we need to look at the current makeup of the Supreme Court.

As it stands and even before Scalia’s death, we have a mostly liberal court. Without Scalia there, the ratio is 3-to-5, and since Obama is a Democrat, the next justice will likely lean left.  Whether we look at the judiciary before Scalia’s death, currently or in the future, it seems the court will remain predominately liberal.

Conservatives want to ride out the vacant seat until we can get a conservative president, but that is not a reasonable thing to do with so many important cases to come before the next president is elected, including immigration and environmental concerns. Most importantly, the Supreme Court should not be based on political disagreements. The basic purpose of the Supreme Court is to properly interpret the Constitution, not to play the political game.