Matthew Jackson, Opinion Editor
The late Justice Antonin Scalia is upheld by many for having created a modern standard in upholding constitutional law despite a progressive push within the American capital. Since Scalia’s passing last week, Washington has been full of lobbyist promoting their ideals to the President and his cabinet as they enter the process of nominating an individual for the highest court in the land.
This process has been awkward in recent days as conservatives fight to hold off on appointing a replacement for Scalia, and liberals work towards finding the best candidate to nominate while President Obama is still in office. What both sides hope to see is appointing a Justice who will break the even political divide in the Supreme Court. Justice Scandia’s passing leaves a 4-4 ratio of conservative and liberal ideologies represented within the highest court.
As this conflict of interest leads to further distress between the Republican and Democratic parties, one cannot help but see the flaws in both approaches. As a recent New York Times article stated in regards to recent efforts by the President’s administration, “(they) urged dozens of the president’s allies who were on the phone not to hold back in their condemnation of Republicans for refusing to hold (replacement hearings).”
What is so important for both sides in making this decision is the issues an incoming justice would be involved in addressing. With a vast array of political conversation coming soon, the next few decades will be full of national discussion ranging from gun rights and immigration to climate change and health care. Washington politics being fully aware of this, political strategy has been and will continue to be in full swing over the next few weeks.
The political gridlock we currently see as the debate continues over whether a liberal or conservative (or moderate or libertarian…) is most qualified to lead in the Supreme Court, is a small representation of the political divide our nation is currently in. What is most fascinating about the current political battle is the different battlefields it is being fought in. In 2016 being an election year, every presidential hopeful has put in their two cents for what they see as best fit, and every congressman, congressman’s brother, and congressman’s friend has begun to rally for their ideals to be embodied in this next Supreme Court Justice.
“It’s going to be the entire progressive movement up against the entire conservative movement,” explained Frank Sharry, an immigration activist who represented his organization in Tuesday’s White House gathering. “I do think it’s going to be a battle of a different order.” A battle of a different order, that is exactly what this fight is going to be and for good reason. This future justice will be one who helps to define the political atmosphere of the next generation. Therefore, expect the next few weeks, or very possible months, to be full of political debate about what is correct.
As Republican argue that it is not ethical for the liberal President Obama to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice, the other side is arguing that it is unconstitutional for a sitting President not to do so. There are many scenarios of how the following weeks will play out, all of them greatly influencing the political climate of our nation. The need for a Supreme Court that accurately and ethically interprets the American Constitution has arguably never been this strong. So pay attention and definitely pray for our leaders as they make this important decision on how to go about finding a suitable replacement for an exceptional man.