Feb 14, 2016

Antonin Scalia, Republican Justice on the Supreme Court, Dies at 79

Justice Antonin Scalia (1986-2016) was found dead Saturday at 79, (Liptak, NYT).

After proper institutional plaudits and expressions of sympathy to the family, the political world has burst into a frantic posture.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and other Republican senators and presidential candidates are calling for President Obama to abdicate his power and responsibility under the United States Constitution to appoint Supreme Court justices, and vow to stop any nominee the president appoints. The Party's only principle is its power.

This is an ironic position from so-called strict constructionists, originalists, textualists—a faux jurisprudence masquerading as a method of judicial policy-making.


Scalia was a hyper-activist and embittered ideologue who in his later years became more troll and open bigot than serious jurist, as his influence faded to a "Justice of One," (Murphy NYT), as a dogmatic and alienating "Scalia emerged as an Old Testament–style Jeremiah, often hollering alone in the wilderness."

Individual rights were few and weak in Scalia's alleged jurisprudence and Scalia's radical views reveal a racist and contemptuous conception of the American citizen, explaining in part why Scalia never achieved a stature beyond a smirking Republican political operative on the Court.


As the Republican Party now openly uses the Court as a means of inflating its power and decimating the rights of the citizenry, it is no surprise Republicans senators believe the president has no right to nominate a justice and the U.S. Senate has no duty to consider a nominee.

Rights and Liberty

Power is what the Republican Party is after, and the diminished rights of the American citizen are simply a necessary objective.

This absurd conception of liberty so championed by Scalia and the New Right jurists such as Robert Bork was eviscerated by the late Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) during the 1987 Bork confirmation hearings.

As Ethan Bronner writes in his brilliant chronicling of the Bork nomination, (Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America; Ethan Bronner. 399 pages. W. W. Norton):

What [Sen.] Specter wanted to know was this: If executive power could undergo organic development, if press freedom had to be interpreted for the modern era, why not the rest of the Bill of Rights? Why not liberty? Why couldn't liberty be an organic concept? Why should judges interpret liberally when faced with the vague concept of press freedom but be held back when confronted with the equally vague concept of liberty? 

The Republicans had no answer in 1987 to this question as the American public, pushing the U.S. Senate, rejected Bork, and the Senate voted 58-42 against the Republican vision of Americans with frail rights.

The Republicans have no answer today as they stand naked, revealed as a fascistic underground movement with no fidelity to the U.S. Constitution and the vast liberties of the American people against state power, save the right of citizens to own weapons of mass destruction.

Battle to Come

The high ground on Constitutional rights is a hill Republicans can never hope to take and Scalia's nominated successor will stand for the liberties of the Constitution in an epic political battle these next nine months.

The Republican political rejoinder to 'I got my rights,' is 'no, you don't,' no matter the slick, Luntz-crafted formulations Republicans will use. This truth will stare Americans in the face this spring and summer.

Republicans will defame, scream, and warn the Republic is coming to an end if the Senate confirms this black president's nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Personally, I'm hoping for Prof. Diane P. Wood, Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, or perhaps a rabbit out of the hat with the nomination of Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, or a dream appointment of Richard Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Speculations abound.

As for the Republicans, let 'em scream. The result will be an aroused electorate realizing their liberty is at stake and there is very little Republicans will not do to achieve One Party rule in their project of unsurpassed ugliness.

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