It’s never a great thing to celebrate the passing of the dead, but Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia wasn’t a great person. In fact, he was a really awful person, and having him on the Supreme Court is the rough equivalent of Justice Fred Phelps. [Or as long-suffering Alabamaians know all too well, Chief Justice Roy Moore.]
Don’t let his death white wash the fact that he was one of the most partisan hacks to ever sit on the bench. And he was downright awful on minority rights, women’s rights, and gay rights. He showed sympathy for no one while he was alive, and I’m not so sure we should be showing him sympathy in his death.
His death will be more or less celebrated in liberal circles—I think I just heard a spontaneous parade burst out behind me—and I’m not so sure that that’s tacky. After all, his death opens up a key Supreme Court vacancy, and could flip the court from 5-4 conservative to 5-4 liberal. He’s not even one of the “moderate” conservative Justices like Kennedy or Roberts, so it really could be a great thing for liberals. I can’t think of a political death in my lifetime that’s had more of an impact except for perhaps when the court switched from liberal to conservative in George H.W. Bush’s tenure.
This will have huge repercussions on the presidential race, and the congressional races. Republicans have already signified that they won’t pass Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to replace Scalia. [A touching eulogy only minutes after the man’s death, that really shows you just how actually beloved the man was by even the party he so viciously defended.] If they actually refuse to appoint Obama’s Supreme Court replacement before the November elections—keep in mind, that’s still more than 8 and a half months away–I think it will create a huge backlash.
Democrats can rightfully say that the GOP are trying to play politics with the law. They’ll accuse them of the worst kind of partisanship. And I can almost see the “Why don’t we have a justice yet?” hashtags and memes. It will be the single most effective tool they could give Democrats to raise money and awareness, and possibly push the first madam president into The White House even more than they already are (i.e. their nominee will be Trump or Cruz).