What's Happening with SCOTUS

Who is Justice Antonin Scalia?

On February 13th, at the age of 79, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead by his friends in a ranch in Texas. His death was unexpected for the American public and government. Anyone who personally knew Scalia or even read his writing had the same thing to say about him: he had a colorful personality, and was not afraid to speak his mind about anything and everything. Scalia was nominated by Ronald Reagan, and served on the Supreme Court from September 26, 1986 to February 13, 2016. He attended Georgetown University for his undergraduate studies, and obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School. Scalia served various other positions on the court before Justice, such as Judge of the United States Court of Appeals and United States Assistant Attorney General. 

Why is his death important?

He is known for his extremely conservative approach to the law, and more specifically, his strict following of the Constitution’s original intent. To him, the Constitution was meant to rule the people, without any adaption for societal changes. He maintained strict views on concepts like affirmative action, abortion, contraception, and more, which will make it tricky for the President of the United States to choose the next Supreme Court Justice to follow Scalia. 

What’s next?

Now that there is a vacancy on the Court, it is up to the President and the Senate to fill it. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives executive power to the President of the United States to nominate justices, and the Senate approves or disapproves with majority vote. The reason why this is a concept that is hard to grasp is because of the upcoming Presidential election. Many people are asking if President Obama should be the one to nominate a new justice, based on the fact that he will only be holding office for a relatively short period of time. With around 300 more days left in office, some are saying that this is far too long for the vacancy to stand, whereas other people disagree. Furthermore, if Scalia is replaced with a liberal, the Court would be tilted 5-4 liberal majority.

SOURCES:

·      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/what-antonin-scalias-death-means-for-the-supreme-court-and-the-country-20160213?page=2

·      http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/what-s-next-upcoming-fight-over-shape-supreme-court-n523731

·      http://www.biography.com/people/antonin-scalia-9473091

·      http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/justice-scalia-on-60-minutes-part-1/

·      http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/justice-scalia-on-60-minutes-part-2/