By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Yesterday, my world was rocked when I saw the very sad news that Justice Antonin Scalia had unexpectedly passed away. It was like a gut punch and I was not alone in feeling as though I had lost a member of my family. Scalia was a Constitutional originalist and one of the most brilliant legal minds to ever grace the Supreme Court bench. Written constitutionalism implies that those who make, interpret and enforce the law ought to be guided by the meaning of the United States Constitution — the supreme law of the land — as it was originally written. This has always been how I have viewed Constitutional law and jurisprudence. The loss of Scalia is a grave one to conservatives and now a battle is brewing in DC that will forever change the political landscape. It will not be pretty or civil.
Justice Scalia was 79 years-old. There are several justices older than he is and he appeared in fairly robust health. He passed away in West Texas at a luxury resort. Scalia was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa. He arrived at the 30,000-acre ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people that night, according to a federal official. The Washington Post is claiming it was a heart attack. Not to be conspiratorial, but a heart attack can be caused by a myriad of reasons. And why wasn’t an autopsy done? He was found in his pajamas and in bed. He was pronounced dead over the phone. I find that highly suspicious. I find it even more suspicious when you read the account by the ranch owner:
A first-time guest to the Cibolo Creek Creek Ranch, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was animated and engaged during dinner Friday night, as one of three dozen invitees to an event that had nothing to do with law or politics, according to the ranch owner.
Just hours later, he would be found dead of apparent natural causes, which media outlets reported on Sunday was a heart attack.
“He was seated near me and I had a chance to observe him. He was very entertaining. But about 9 p.m. he said, ‘it’s been a long day and a long week, I want to get some sleep,” recalled Houston businessman John Poindexter, who owns the 30,000-acre luxury ranch.
When Poindexter tried to awaken Scalia about 8:30 the next morning, the judge’s door was locked and he did not answer. Three hours later, Poindexter returned after an outing, with a friend of Scalia who had come from Washington with him.
“We discovered the judge in bed, a pillow over his head. His bed clothes were unwrinkled,” said Poindexter.
A pillow over his head and they declare natural causes over the phone? Was it over his head or over his face? Come on! It is true that Scalia was somewhat overweight, but it would be the height of foolishness not to consider other aspects surrounding his death. It is outrageous that a man of his stature would not have an autopsy to confirm cause of death. I would think his family would have insisted on one. In less than 24 hours, he is already embalmed destroying any chance of deducing foul play. You begin with what sounds like a reasonable supposition, but then as facts begin to emerge it becomes less and less reasonable and the eyes begin to widen. Couple this with the timing and you have to squint really hard not to begin to wonder if all is as it seems.
Scalia leaves behind his wife, nine children and 35 grandchildren. He is a man who will be sorely missed and greatly mourned.
He was nominated by Ronald Reagan and has served for decades on the Supreme Court. On the passing of one of the greatest Justices in American history, Ted Cruz issued the following statement:
“Today our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history – Justice Antonin Scalia. A champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution, he will go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history.
“As liberals and conservatives alike would agree, through his powerful and persuasive opinions, Justice Scalia fundamentally changed how courts interpret the Constitution and statutes, returning the focus to the original meaning of the text after decades of judicial activism. And he authored some of the most important decisions ever, including District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized our fundamental right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms. He was an unrelenting defender of religious liberty, free speech, federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, and private property rights. All liberty-loving Americans should be in mourning.
“Justice Scalia’s three decades on the Court was one of President Reagan’s most consequential legacies. Our prayers are with his beloved wife Maureen, their nine children, and their precious grandchildren.”
Justice Scalia was about to rule on the some of the most serious issues ever to face the court: abortion, immigration, gun rights, Obamacare, voting rights and affirmative action. I find it curious and somewhat ironic that he passes away and Obama has a one week window in which he can make a recess appointment to the Supreme Court while Congress is out. He would have to do that next week. Obama didn’t even wait for Scalia’s body to grow cold before he took to the airwaves to state he felt it was his Constitutional duty to appoint a new Justice and that the Senate must confirm. Mitch McConnell has said no way… that it should be the next president who selects a new Justice. And here we are. If this was a spy thriller, you couldn’t pick a better plot or one more reminiscent of the Pelican Brief.
Ted Cruz has repeatedly warned that we were one justice away from a predominantly liberal Supreme Court. We are there my friends. The court is evenly divided along party lines now between conservatives and progressives. The next Justice decided upon will tip the court one way or the other. If Obama does indeed do a recess appointment it won’t be the first time, but this time the move will be politically motivated, calculated and highly partisan. It will cause a violent upheaval in American politics. This is what Obama has been hoping and waiting for. As Frank Salvato put it the Senate must hold the line.
We now stand at the crossroads of history. Our constitutionality and freedoms are at stake. Ted Cruz is emphatically saying that he will filibuster any nominee that Barack Obama puts forth:
Scalia’s death leaves the court with three consistent conservatives: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who like Scalia was a Ronald Reagan appointee, often sides with the court’s liberals on social issues, such as same-sex marriage, but is overall a conservative. The court has four consistent liberals: Ruth Bader Ginsburg plus Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
The court is scheduled to hear in April arguments concerning Obama’s plan to shield more than four million illegal immigrants from deportation. Scalia’s death throws national politics into definite turmoil and a showdown is coming between Obama and conservatives.
Meanwhile, Democrats are fundraising off Scalia’s passing and they have turned incredibly vicious on social media. They are practically dancing in the streets and drooling over this.
Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz said the 2016 election should be a “referendum” on the nation’s highest court. Cruz stressed that the Senate cannot allow Democrats to use Antonin Scalia’s death to erase the Second Amendment by writing it out of the constitution.
I don’t think the American people want a court that will strip our religious liberties. I don’t think the American people want a court that will mandate unlimited abortion-on-demand, partial birth abortion with taxpayer funding and no parental notification. And I don’t think the American people want a court that will write the Second Amendment out of the constitution.
Mark Levin weighed in as well: “I would count him as a top ten, maybe a top five of all time, and he wasn’t even a Chief Justice,” Levin said of the late Justice Scalia. “This is a devastating loss for people who love this country. It’s a devastating loss for those of us who love the Constitution,” he added. “It’s an absolute disaster. Let me put it this way, Scalia is kind of the Churchill, the Thatcher, and the Reagan of the Supreme Court. He wasn’t even Chief Justice and yet his impact has been massive as an originalist,” Levin went on. “The point is, he moved the Court in ways that the Court would never have moved before, even though we have these disastrous opinions coming from the Court, the brilliance of his decisions … he was able to cobble together often four justices, sometimes five justices. He was energetic, he was intellectually bracing. He was by far the leader of that Court, and there are great Justices on that Court,” added Levin.
The vacancy on the high court marks an historic opportunity for the sitting president to fill a conservative seat, potentially tilting the balance in a court that for years has broken 5-4 on key decisions. The president’s past two appointments – Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – were, by contrast, made to fill seats vacated by similarly liberal-leaning Justices. It is a certainty that if Obama got his way, an uber liberal will be nominated to take Scalia’s seat. There is a whole list of possible nominees including Eric Holder and a strong possibility is a Muslim nominee. Consider that for a moment, long and hard.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement: “The President can and should send the Senate a nominee right away. With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible. It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”
Scalia was a lion on the Supreme Court. We simply cannot allow Obama to put his chosen nominee there and take over the Court this way. Mitch McConnell must stand his ground. I’ll tell you one thing, if he doesn’t, he will definitely get Trump or Cruz as the nominee and there will be outrage against McConnell such as he has never seen before if he doesn’t do his job this time. Though the Senate changed its own rules for handling certain nominations back in 2013, it still takes 60 votes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee – a high bar for Obama, whose party holds 46 seats in the Senate (counting two Independents). Republicans could try to run out the clock on any Obama nominee, in hopes of having a potential Republican president nominate someone more aligned with their views next year as well. But as I said before, Obama has about a week to do a rare recess appointment and he may just do that.
Carrie Severino, with the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, sided with McConnell in urging the president to wait for his successor to make the choice.
“This president, who has shown such contempt for the Constitution and the laws, is the last person who should be appointing [Scalia’s] successor,” she said in a statement “The people’s voice should be heard in November to determine who will appoint the next Supreme Court Justice.”
Conservatives stand in the breach to ensure that the highest court in the land does not tip forever into liberalism where the Constitution will be taken apart piece by piece and the nation will be reformed under a Marxist doctrine. Constitutionalists now need to rise up and teach their brethren how to war in politics. This election is now more than ever the most important one of our lifetime. The very lifeblood of the Republic is at stake. We need not only a warrior, but a Constitutionalist. We need Ted Cruz.