, ’76 Blog contributor]
Antonin Scalia was a brilliant man of integrity who knew the law and the meaning of the Constitution better than almost anyone alive. His loss was a tragic blow to the ramparts of liberty. He was also a fair and honest man who cut through partisan nonsense to get to the truth, and whether you agreed with him or not, he always took the same, correct side: The Constitution’s.
The United States Constitution is the greatest political document that has ever been written, and it’s unleashed the freest, most prosperous, and most just society in history. It also gives the power to appoint nominees to the Supreme Court to the President, and no where does it say that he or she cannot do so just because there’s an election in seven months. The American people should have a say, and they already have – four years ago, and the previous four before that. If “the other team” doesn’t like that simply because they’re “the other team,” then tough. Article II does not change just because the opposition party doesn’t like not being in the White House.
This must be consistently true at all time for both sides, otherwise, we’re not really a republic. When Robert Bork was defeated almost 30 years ago, the shoe was on the other foot. Now many Republicans and conservatives advocate doing the same thing they decried back then. But as a good friend put it, we “don’t need to fight a Democrat’s nominee, we need to fight a bad one,” and he’s right, regardless of how you vote.
Senate Republicans have a constitutional role to play here too, and they should do their duty; but not because they just want to “beat the other team.” In the incredibly unlikely event that the President nominates someone great who will uphold the Constitution and the rule of law, then they should be supported by men of good will and even better conscience. If he nominates someone who ascribes to progressive ideas that would do damage to the rule of law and constitutional principles, then they should be opposed, and vociferously so.
But to preemptively strike against a nominee that hasn’t even happened yet is petty, immature, and just reinforces the “politics as usual” narrative that has us on the verge of electing either Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. You cannot dig your way out of a hole by digging up. We are a nation of laws, and not men, and those who rule on the law should be chosen on the merits, not on spiteful political calculus and scheming.
Elections have consequences.
If Republicans are mad about those consequences, then they should’ve nominated better candidates four and eight years ago. Or perhaps, the some 20 million registered Republicans who stayed home during those elections should’ve done their duty. Either way, they lost, and now they’re throwing a transparently childish tantrum over it. Elections have consequences, and adults face their consequences. We should do so now with honor. That’s what Antonin Scalia would’ve done.
“Publius” is a contributor to the ’76 Blog, and the pseudonym of a concerned patriot who previously taught American history, worked at the Reagan Ranch Center, served in Afghanistan, and currently works in law enforcement in the Denver area. All of his thoughts and opinions are his own, and do not represent the position of the Centennial Institute, Colorado Christian University, or anyone else for that matter. You can follow Publius on Twitter, on Facebook at, or reach him at email@example.com. You can find all of Publius’ latest commentary at publiussays.wordpress.com.