Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is dead. Wow. His death came as a shocker - a holy shit moment in a holy shit campaign.
I don't want to make light of his death; may he rest in peace. But you couldn't script this election for a movie and make it better than what you are getting now. Who needs The West Wing when you've got the real thing.
The political posturing started, literally, within hours of his death. GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would wait until a new president is elected before they confirm a nominee. Democratic President Barack Obama, on the other hand, says there is plenty of time for him to nominate a successor, that he plans to do so, and that he expects the Senate to give the nominee a fair hearing.
It would be easy to knock the political gamesmanship as distasteful coming so soon on the heels of the man's death, but it is what it is. The reality is that both parties know a major Supreme Court opening is at stake and that they have to lay their cards out on the table early. Republicans see no benefit to confirming a nominee now; if they get a Republican in the White House they get exactly who they want on the bench, and if a Democrat gets in they compromise just like they would do now. Democrats, of course, understand there is no benefit in waiting.
Meanwhile, the airwaves will be filled with the usual talking heads offering the usual opinions. The right will hail him as a conservative hero while the left will deride him as someone who wanted to send the country backwards.
That's why, amidst all of the noise, there really is one thing you should know about him that's more important than anything else: that he had a close, personal friendship with liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Why is that important? Because it puts our political battles in perspective. The gamesmanship is what it is. The disagreements are what they are. But there is no reason to let those things get in the way of what otherwise can be wonderful friendships and relationships. Politics isn't everything.
As we head into what will now be an even more contentious 2016 election, let's not forget that.
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