Would his "traditional" reading of the Constitution have been accepted by its Framers?by Robert Singh / February 16, 2016 / Leave a comment
With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on 13th February, the United States Supreme Court became a central issue in the raucous 2016 presidential campaign. While President Obama has stated his intent to nominate the next justice, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has argued that Scalia should not be replaced until after the presidential election—and nominees must be confirmed by the currently Republican-held Senate. These competing claims show how the Court now reflects and reinforces the broader partisan polarisation in Washington.
On decisions from gun control to campaign finance, the court over the last decade has pursued an outspokenly conservative agenda. But other key rulings—such as upholding the Affordable Care Act and the right to same sex marriage—have also grievously disappointed traditionalists. With the remaining eight justices now split between four progressives and four conservatives, Scalia’s replacement could potentially reshape constitutional law for years to come.
A man of acerbic wit and often scathing venom, Scalia developed an approach to constitutional interpretation—originalism—that many found coherent and compelling (a whole book, Scalia Dissents, was even dedicat…