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Supreme Politics

Posted February 16th, 2016 at 4:07 pm (UTC-4)
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Despite its status as an independent branch of government, the American judiciary is not immune to partisan politics. That has become vividly apparent in the hours and days following Saturday’s death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday. The United States Constitution codifies the politicization of the Supreme Court. Article II Section 2 says the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint…Judges of the Supreme Court…” In other words, the president appoints, the Senate anoints. At stake in replacing Scalia is the philosophical bent of the Supreme Court. Scalia was a steadfast conservative. His death leaves the nine member court divided between four conservatives and four liberals. With a presidential election coming in November, conservative Republicans wasted no time in demanding that President Barack Obama refrain from nominating a replacement for Scalia, arguing that responsibility should be left for the next president after the American people have their say. Obama has vowed to exercise his constitutional duty and nominate a candidate for the Supreme Court “in due time.” Fellow Democrats argue that the president has already won two elections and the people have already spoken about the direction of the country. Few believe the senate will act on the president’s nomination, leaving the Supreme Court in the political gridlock gripping the other two branches of government.