IT HAS been 11 years since an American Supreme Court Justice has died while on the bench. And the death of that judge, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, had much narrower political and legal repercussions than the surprise demise of Antonin Scalia, the court’s longest-serving justice and most acerbic conservative, who has died in his sleep, promises to.
In 2005, George W. Bush was simply able to Nominate John Roberts, another conservative, to succeed Mr Rehnquist. Barack Obama, now in the last year of his presidency, would love to nominate a justice in the mould of Mr Scalia’s fellow opera-lover, liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Such an appointment could tip the balance on the court decidedly toward the left for a generation or more. But any nominee must be confirmed by the Senate, and with an intransigent Republican majority there, there is no chance Mr Obama would try to do that.
Moments after news of Mr Scalia’s death broke on February 13th, Ted Cruz tweeted that the Ronald Reagan nominee “was an American hero. We...Continue reading