Opinion: Scalia’s death further divides liberals and conservatives

Matt Poe

Most of our political issues today, sadly, revolve around the battle of Republicans vs. Democrats; the right and left battling for a position to gain the upper hand on one another. It’s also an election year, which further separates the two parties when it comes to playing nice (if that’s even possible at this point) in virtually any area of politics. That messy, sometimes childish contest between the two parties just picked up a full head of steam in the wake of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

Scalia, 79, was pronounced dead at Cibolo Creek Ranch this past weekend, where he was on a hunting trip in the remote area of Texas. Although it was declared the justice died of natural causes, that statement was made without seeing the body, which is legal in Texas. No autopsy was ordered either, which has led some to speculate foul play was involved. I’m not ready to jump on that conspiracy train but hey, dive right in if you’re feeling brave.

For those unaware, Scalia was the face of the conservative vote on the Supreme Court. Appointed by Reagan in 1986, his voting record was that of the traditional conservative. Abortion? The Framers didn’t include it in the Constitution, so that’s a no-fly zone. Gay rights? Well, he once told the citizens of Colorado that they are “entitled to be hostile towards homosexuals.”

A lot of his beliefs were those of yesteryear and anti-progressive, but it’s nevertheless what you would primarily suspect of the major conservative appointed 30 years ago when many of today’s social issues were still taboo.

As odd as it is to say, Scalia’s death really isn’t about him. Regardless of your political views or ideologies, the man was an influential political figure and it’s somewhat a shame to see all the bashing from liberals on social media about his death, a final good riddance to a man many of them deemed out of touch with reality. There’s nothing wrong with disliking the man, but a little humility in the wake of his death would be refreshing.

Instead, his death is really about who his replacement will be. Rather, it’s about who will appoint his replacement.

This issue wouldn’t be as heavily scrutinized, but again it’s an election year, and every decision by the incumbent and the candidates is analyzed tenfold under the microscope of the media and the public. And I can tell you now, this situation is only going to get messier between the two parties. Don’t forget, it’s the president who appoints the Supreme Court Justices to serve life terms. It’s every president’s dream to appoint one or multiple justices in an attempt to have major cases decided by the Court potentially swung in their favor.

In short, Republican candidates want to postpone the appointment of a new justice in the attempt to regain the White House in the election and appoint their own justice. Democrats will insist Obama appoint someone in due time.

But neither side will cease fire because the mad lust to get a judge of their respective parties is too much for either side to blink first. Quite frankly, as Hillary Clinton mentioned, I don’t see how it’s logical to have a vacancy on the Court for almost a year’s time when the next president is due to take office, but Republicans will push hard for that very thing. Whether that’s right or not is up to you. Please brace yourselves because this is just getting started; we’re looking at the reanimation of Deflategate, a la the politics version.

Who knew both parties could find more animosity and less moderation but alas, they’ve struck gold.

Matt Poe is a columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]