The death of the most right wing Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, in modern American history, offers Barack Obama and the Democrats a real opportunity to transform the majority of the Supreme Court, which has been with a Republican appointed majority for the last 44 years!
With the appointment and confirmation of Justices William Rehnquist and Lewis F. Powell, Jr. by Richard Nixon in January 1972, the beginning of the fourth year of his Presidency, we have had a Republican appointed majority, and the Democrats have only had a total of four appointments to the Court, as compared to the nine that the Republicans have had.
With nearly a full year until the next Presidential inauguration, there is no excuse for the Republicans to filibuster or to dismiss an appointment without just cause, and the Republicans are playing a very dangerous game in so threatening, within hours after Scalia’s death. Public opinion is likely to reverberate against them if they follow through and create the longest delay in a Court appointment being confirmed.
The all time record is the 125 days between when Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish member of the Court, until his confirmation in 1916. The second longest delay was when Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork in 1987, and his rejection by the Senate after 114 days.
So to say it will take more than the 342 days when the next President is inaugurated to gain a ninth Supreme Court Justice is totally preposterous, and delays so many decisions, and basically cripples the ability of the Court to do its job, its constitutional duty.
Already, the Republicans have shown they do not believe in doing the government’s business in the House of Representatives and the Senate, so are they now going to do the same with the Supreme Court?
Is this the way for them to convince the nation to give them responsibility for control of both houses and the Presidency, and also the Court for the long term future?
Obviously, the answer is NO, so the chance for a Supreme Court of nine members might very well be resolved with Barack Obama appointing a perceived moderate to the Court, which will be hard for the Republicans to refuse to confirm!
Barack Obama is our President for another eleven months, and constitutionally, he has the right and the responsibility to choose a new Supreme Court Justice, no matter how the Republican Party feels about it!