Saturday, February 13, 2016

EXTRA: From one Maroon to another, it's appropriate. But will it occur?

I have to admit to thinking it ever so appropriate if Barack Obama truly becomes the president who gets to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death this weekend of Antonin Scalia.

SCALIA: Couldn't hold on to life long enough
For let’s not forget that Scalia served on the University of Chicago Law School faculty for six years back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and included the teaching of constitutional law among his workload.

AS DID OBAMA, who for 12 years in the 1990s and 2000s (while also serving in the state Legislature) was a senior lecturer at the Hyde Park-based law school who also took on the occasional constitutional law course amongst his workload.

Yes, it’s ironic that one law school could produce such divergent ideological thoughts, even though both men claim the Constitution of the United States to be the basis upon which they have a philosophy about government.

Scalia, who served on the nation’s high court for three decades until his death in his sleep Friday night, was the one who always claimed he was a “strict constructionist” when it came to ruling on the law.

Meaning he wanted to think that if it wasn’t specifically addressed in the original document, it wasn’t fit for him to decide. And naturally, he always managed to come up with ways in which that document upheld his own socially conservative ideological beliefs.

OBAMA, HOWEVER, WAS the guy who early in his presidential campaign took a pot shot at former President George W. Bush by saying his constitutional law background meant that, “unlike the (then-)current president, I actually respect the Constitution.”

Which he always saw as a document that upheld his own left-leaning ideological tendencies.

My own belief is that the U.S. Constitution is neither conservative nor liberal, and anybody who tries to make it out to be either or is doing a disgrace to this country. Behaving in a way that truly is un-American.

OBAMA: Will he be able to pick replacement?
Which is why I find it appalling to read the ideological nit-wits who, within hours of learning of Scalia’s death, were determined to ensure the delay the picking of a replacement.

SOME OF THEM say they just don’t want Obama to get to replace a justice who ideologically was so opposed to him. Others say they want the post to remain open until the day comes when a president is in place who would guarantee the choice of someone just like Tony Scalia!

The simple fact is that the process in place for filling a vacancy says that Obama gets to do it, with confirmation of the U.S. Senate – some of whose Republican members already are saying they’re willing to thwart the process and cause delays.

These people are upset enough that two high court members owe their appointments to Obama. Having a third pick (literally one-third of the high court) would really go a long way toward undoing what may be the most devastating part of the Reagan presidential legacy – all those ideologically conservative federal judges picked so as to ensure their way of viewing society would prevail.

After all, if the high court is rigged in their favor, you can prevent just about anything from getting through a future Congress or president – regardless of what they think.

PERSONALLY, I SUSPECT that Scalia – who was 79 – would have been more than willing to retire next year IF an ideologically-sympathetic president were elected come November. A part of me envisions him begging St. Peter in Heaven for just a couple more years of life so that Obama does NOT get a say in his replacement.

I won’t be surprised if the final year of the Obama presidency now becomes noted for the intense gamesmanship that will be played to try to deprive Barack the ability to fill a high court vacancy.

A political battle with origins in this Hyde Park-based college. Image provided by Chuckman collection
And if, by chance, Obama is able to get the Senate to confirm his high court nominee, it could wind up being a bigger partisan political ploy than anything he had to do to get the Affordable Care Act enacted into law.

Although I’m now envisioning the day off in the future once Obama has departed this realm of existence – will we get a heavenly debate about Constitutional law from the two Maroons law school types? That would be a quarrel worth listening to!


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