Regarding the Feb. 16 editorial “The storm over the high court”: In the face of Antonin Scalia’s death, Republicans demand another “Scalia” be named to the court.
Their opposition to the timely nomination and consideration of a new Supreme Court justice if that demand is not met is a looming constitutional crisis. Ultimately, any appointee to the Supreme Court by any president must be able to garner 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to avoid the filibuster of their nomination.
Republicans seem determined at all costs to have this as a final fallback position to deny approval of any Obama nominee until he leaves office in 11 months. This is a nuclear option with dire implications.
Assume Republicans succeed as they hope: They deny Obama an appointee, and a Republican wins the White House in November. There is no likelihood Republicans will have a 60-vote Senate majority.
A Republican president would face a Democratic Party parroting the now-established Republican obstructionism if any nominee embraced the conservative Constitution-literalist judicial philosophy of Scalia.
There will not be another Scalia on the court, because there is no prospect of approval of other than a middle-of-the-road candidate who can garner 60 votes in the Senate – regardless of who is president.