Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Empty Chair

Over the coming days we will learn more than we ever imagined about the history of and impediments to filling vacancies on the Supreme Court. With the death of Justice Scalia, the thoughts of this nation turn almost immediately to the Armageddon which will ensue.

Mitch McConnell, on cue, hued to the Republican mantra. Nothing President Obama favored, and certainly no person he nominated for a seat on the highest court, would ever be deemed worthy of approval by a perpetually intractable opponent.

And while Harry Reid spoke of the unprecedented (more accurately "unpresidented") contemplations and condemnations of his senate rivals, the Republican candidates for their parties top spot on this November's ticket wasted no time in advising us of the shortening of the second term of this president to slightly more than three years. We have learned that "lame duck" has meaning far beyond prohibitions in attempting to pass significant legislation. Now it seems the "will of the people" was to elect a president who was to be fully neutered once the first people moved in herds around the gym during the Iowa caucus.

For almost 30 years, Justice Scalia brandished his own unique interpretation of the Constitution on this nation. He has done little to stop the great divide that plagues us, and many would argue his declarations and determinations have only exacerbated our problems.

With his death, we should once more consider term limits for this court, to stop the decades long stranglehold that comes with life time appointments. Over two hundred years ago, the framers of our Constitution could not possibly have imagined the extended duration that many, like Justice Scalia, would hold sway over the course of this country's affairs.

But that is a discussion for another moment. At present, we must narrow our focus to the seemingly unsolvable riddle of trying to fill an empty chair between now and next January 20th.

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