Opinion: Death of Supreme Court Justice spells more political turmoil

Jacob Tabler is a junior political science major and a member of the Kent State College Republicans. Contact him at [email protected].

Jacob Tabler Kent State College Republicans

Antonin Scalia, a very outspoken conservative associate justice of the Supreme Court, passed away at the age of 79 last Saturday.

Scalia was appointed under the Reagan administration and was a strict constitutionalist. He worked hard to defend the Constitution in its original meaning: To uphold what he interpreted to be the intent of the Founding Fathers.

He will be remembered as a renowned constitutional scholar and strong conservative justice. However, this has brought up many questions regarding when the empty seat should be filled. With a Presidential election only 330 days away, the dilemma has become much more serious.

The debate has already begun as to whether or not President Barack Obama should nominate someone to replace Scalia. While Democrats are calling for Obama make the nomination as soon as possible, the Republicans are calling for the Senate to delay the confirmation vote of any nominee and hope for a Republican president to take the White House so a more conservative justice can be nominated.

The problem that arises is that even though 2016 is an election year, there is still almost eleven months until the next president will take office. This is a significant amount of time to have an empty seat in the Supreme Court.

I believe Obama will nominate his choice to become justice and the Senate will be pressured to vote on the nominee. However, the Republican-controlled Senate is likely to vote down whoever is nominated by Obama. There is a serious political dilemma that faces the Republican Party when it comes to this situation.

On the surface it would seem to be in the best interest of the party to delay or vote down any nominations that Obama proposes in the Senate. However, such tactics could result in political backfire. If the Republican Party should choose to stall, then it would present a great opportunity for the Democratic Party, as any maneuvers perceived to stall the process will put the Republican Party in a bad light. This could potentially hurt their bid for the presidency in the coming election.

I believe it is important for the next president to nominate the next justice, regardless of their party. The people will decide the next president based on what direction they want the country to go, and that president should nominate the person they believe will help carry the country in that direction.

The nominee should be another constitutionalist similar to Scalia, regardless of the party that controls the executive branch. Most Republican-appointed justices in the Supreme Court have moderate political views. However, it is important to have a conservative man similar to Scalia to diversify the makeup of the justices. This would achieve a true diversity of thought on the Supreme Court and truly represent the interests of all people in the United States.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Kent State College Republicans as an organization.