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How Will the Death of Justice Antonin Scalia Change the Supreme Court?
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Summary: The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has created speculation about who will succeed him. 

Justice Antonin Scalia died at the age of 79 this weekend. The Supreme Court Justice was considered a hero to conservatives and a villain to liberals because of his rulings on topics such as abortion rights, LGBT rights, and affirmative action. The Chicago Tribune reports that he died of natural causes and will not have an autopsy performed. Meanwhile, Gawker hinted at possible foul play, citing that someone said he found Scalia with a pillow over his head. Either way, his passing has spurned a debate over what will happen to the Supreme Court.


Scalia was found in his room at a Texas resort on Saturday. He was there on a quail hunting expedition. Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara said the declaration of death was 1:52 p.m.

Scalia’s body was flown from a funeral home in El Paso, Texas to Virginia and arrived late Sunday. Chris Lujuan, a manager for the funeral home, said his family did not feel an autopsy was necessary and wanted his body to Washington as soon as possible. They plan to cremate him.

In Washington D.C., flags flew at half-staff to pay their respects, but the politics of his death could not be quelled. Even though democratic President Barack Obama had not yet named Scalia’s successor, Republican senators were quick to denounce anyone he would choose. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said the decision should wait for the next president. Republicans argued that since Obama had only one year left of office, he should not appoint the lifelong position. They vowed to stop him from putting a liberal on the bench.

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Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz told Meet the Press, “We’re advising that a lame-duck president in an election year is not going to be able to tip the balance of the Supreme Court.”

Democratic senators were shocked that Republicans, who hold the majority in the Senate, would so blatantly violate the constitution. Elizabeth Warren said in a viral Facebook post:

“Senator McConnell is right that the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. In fact, they did — when President Obama won the 2012 election by five million votes. 

Article II Section 2 of the Constitution says the President of the United States nominates justices to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of theSenate. I can’t find a clause that says “…except when there’s a year left in the term of a Democratic President.”

According to NPR, a possible shortlist of Supreme Court Justice candidates include Sri Srinivasan, Paul Watford, David Barron, Patricia Ann Millett, Jane Louise Kelly, Merrick Garland, Jacqueline Nguyen, Kamala D. Harris, Kannon Shanmugam, and Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.

With Scalia’s passing, the Supreme Court cases pending will be seen by the current court of eight. According to NPR, if cases end with a 4-4 tie, the rulings made by the lower courts will be allowed to stand.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

Source: NPR


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