Monday, February 15, 2016
So U. S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin N. Scalia is dead. And that is a good thing for the nation. I am an atheist but it almost makes me want to believe that there is a just god except that if there were truly a just god, Scalia would never have made it to age 79. He would have been dead some 50 years ago. I also feel embarrassed that I'm so eager to rejoice in the death of another human being, but I am and that is that. Scalia worked hard to deserve my joy at his death and I shall not allow that work to go to waste.
What I find ridiculous is the willingness of commentators opining over Scalia's career to accept wholesale Scalia's professed claim to being a Constitutional "originalist". The term is utter nonsense. As Scalia defined it if an issue was not mentioned in the Constitution as amended that issue was not the proper concern of the Federal government. In fact, Scalia's claim to "originalism" was a gossamer cloak for some very right-wing ideology. He never once let the "original intent of the framers" get in the way of his desire to advance an often lunatic right-wing agenda. Scalia could pervert the Second Amendment into an individual right to gun ownership while ignoring the whole substance of the debate during the adoption of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that related that amendment to balancing the power of state militias against a Federal standing army. Scalia could ignore the express arguments in the Federalist Papers stating that corporations are not persons and that their influence in elections would be contrary to true democracy to create a partisan opinion in the Citizens United case. He could pervert the electoral process to install his ideological pals in the executive branch instead of allowing democracy to run its course. In the eagerly Orwellian parlance of the neo-fascist right in America, Scalia was an "originalist" while anyone who accepted what both James Madison and Alexander Hamilton agreed had to be a malleable outline for governance was an "activist judge". In fact, Scalia was a more "activist judge" albeit for ultra right-wing causes than ever William O. Douglas or Thurgood Marshall were on the left.
The other point emphasized in the comments on Scalia's death is his readable and colorful writing, as if writing that made legalese tolerable reading conveyed some positive quality to ideological decisions and bad law. There are plenty of writers with appalling points of view who can be fun to read but that doesn't make their work any less appalling. D. W. Griffith was a great film director but his amazing visual imagery only makes Birth of a Nation more appallingly racist, not less.
So Scalia is dead. I haven't any champagne to open in celebration. Presumably the greatest immediate effect of Scalia's passing will be that Samuel Alito will now be the person with his hand up the butt of the sock-puppet, Clarence Thomas. Yet the real impact of Scalia's death will certainly come in the current presidential election.
The Republiscum are already looking to hold up any nomination that President Obama may make in the hope that they will have a neo-fascist in the White House come next January 20th who can dig up some Scalia clone, perhaps one even more cravenly ideological if such a thing is possible, for the high court vacancy. It was the same strategy the Republiscum used with the Afforadable Health Care Act, aka Obamacare. They figured that delaying implementation of the Act to 2013 would allow them to retake the White House and eliminate it before ever it could be implemented. And how did that work for you, right-wingers? As Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
President Obama will probably, as he has done before, nominate someone with moderate views that skew slightly left rather than the ultra hard right ideologue that Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley and the even more lunatic of the Republiscum lunatic fringe would prefer. In doing so he will set a trap for the Republiscum into which their neo-fascist base will happily run pell-mell. Scalia's death puts unions rights to organize, women's rights to equal treatment, abortions and even birth control, minorities rights to vote let alone equal treatment and a host of other issues front and centre in the election. A Senate that refuses to act on a nomination in the hope of electing an ideologue who will decimate the rights of millions may well cost the Republiscum the Senate and set the stage for a Democratic president to nominate an even more Liberal judge to the court. Would it not be fair and delightful for President Hillary Clinton to nominate the former Constitutional law professor, Barak Hussein Obama, to fill Scalia's seat? Would it not be wonderful to see him confirmed by a Senate controlled by 51 or 52 Democrats?
The fact is that Antonin Scalia may have done more good for the nation by dying than he ever did in life. We shall see over the next ten months how his death plays out in our national politics, hopefully for the better confirming my elation at the death of Justice Scalia.