Littwin: Why the GOP fears Obama filling Scalia’s SCOTUS seat |

Littwin: Why the GOP fears Obama filling Scalia’s SCOTUS seat

Mike Littwin
Fair and Unbalanced

So let the jiggery-pokery — in the famous words of Justice Antonin Scalia — begin.

Actually, we’re a little late. The jiggery and the pokery are already both in full swing. As you surely know, Scalia died Saturday morning, and we’ve re-confirmed in the last few days that American democracy isn’t doing so great either.

This is where matters stand. With Scalia’s death, the Supreme Court is now deadlocked 4-4 between liberals and conservatives. And so, the successor to Scalia may, in fact, be the most consequential appointment in judicial memory. It was sufficiently important that Barack Obama made a pre-Republican-debate appearance Saturday night to convey his condolences and, more to the point, announce that he planned — because it’s his job — to send the Senate a nominee to replace Scalia.

He felt the need to do so because Republicans were lining up to say that Obama, as a lame-duck president, should step aside — as if he weren’t president for the next 11 months — and let the next president make the decision. In a pre-emptive attack, Mitch McConnell had already said he would block any Obama appointee, no matter who it was, presumably even if it were one of Scalia’s nine children.

In other words, the Republicans are prepared to emasculate the court for the next, say, 15 months or so — with all those expected 5-4 decisions turning into 4-4 ties, meaning nothing actually gets done — so Obama can’t pick a third justice.

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