Scalia death impact could be historically huge

One shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, I was told early in life. To that my forever mischievous brother John, would say so and so “is dead. That’s good.” Still, I will not speak badly of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. The 79-year-old Reagan-era pick for the nation’s highest court died overnight Saturday at a ritzy ranch resort in Presidio County, Texas.


I will also not express my like for Scalia, the justice being the most conservatively active on the court. Saying he was active doesn’t particularly mean he was a judicial “activist,” although I would think the most honest and fair of political persuasions left and right would have to characterize “Nino” Scalia that way. The fact that his wife was an anti-abortion activist left Democrats proclaiming Scalia should recuse himself from any abortion-related cases the court would review. He didn’t recuse himself, of course.

Republicans didn’t wait until funeral directors embalmed the late justice before categorically stating that President Obama should not nominate a candidate to replace Scalia. Obama said he would nominate a candidate as is his Constitutional duty. The Senate’s own Website describes that process:

 “advice and consent – Under the Constitution, presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate, and international treaties become effective only when the Senate approves them by a two-thirds vote.

That doesn’t mean the Senate has to approve the nomination, of course. The Republican candidates for president in a South Carolina debate Saturday night indicated they were all hell-bent in declaring no candidate for the Supreme Court who Obama recommended would be considered.

Of course, the cable news media all have focused on this political “drama.” This focus on the Republicans pledge to reject any presidential nominee for the high court until a new president is sworn in certainly seems like the failure to consider the possibility a Hillary Clinton, or God forbid, a Bernie Sanders presidency. Such obstruction is nothing new for the crop of congressional Republicans who try at every turn to thwart the Obama administration.

What is lost on the Republicans is that we are coming out of two terms of Obama in the presidency. While the prevailing wisdom may be that everyone hates Obama, that is realistically not the case. The national media loves a good soap opera so the focus is on, once again, the drama, of a butt-loaded GOP presidential race. Even more so is this the case since the rich pitch man cum “reality” television star Donald Trump is a front-runner.

What Republicans will not discuss is how Trump and this overcrowded field, now vastly complicated by the Scalia death and a looming presidential showdown, has the makings of a historic political realignment. I speak, as I have for quite a few years now, that the GOP could split into.

If a fight breaks out in the Republican National Convention this summer over platform and candidates — Trump as opposed to Cruz/Rubio or even Jeb! Bush — we could see a political split that the country has not seen in more than 160 years. That was the last time one of the two major parties permanently broke apart. Such history might also consider the “Dixiecrat,” party in 1948, though no permanent split took place over racial segregation.

The Republican Party would be stupid not to consider the voting public to be so outraged at the do-nothing Congress and right-wing agenda that Congress, at least the Senate, might return to Democratic hands along with a Democratic president.

Whatever happens happens. The death of Antonin Scalia could prove a more lasting impact on U.S. history than any of his opinions. That could be good or bad. One cannot guess how this all plays out.