The author of this article paints a series of what-ifs on the process of nominating a Supreme Court Justice. It could go as long as 2021 before a nominee could or would be confirmed under the following conditions. It is an indictment of the Senate and its inability to function in the manner the founding fathers intended. Read the three specific issues that, combined, could lead to this constitutional crisis.
As Written By Ryan Cooper at THE WEEK:
America’s Supreme Court nightmare
Right now the political class is speculating about whether or not Senate Republicans will allow President Obama to place another justice on the Supreme Court. But look out slightly further: Suppose a Democrat wins the presidency, but Republicans manage to hang on to the Senate. Would they agree to confirm any nominee of President Sanders or Clinton? Given their past history of extremist procedural obstruction, I’d say chances are pretty slim.
That pegs the earliest date at which the Supreme Court justice might be confirmed to after the 2018 elections. But wait, Republicans are typically favored in midterm elections, and the 2018 map is strong for them. If Democrats can’t do it in 2016, then 2020 is likely the earliest they could retake the Senate. In January 2021, assuming they haven’t retired or died, Justice Stephen Breyer will be 83, Justice Anthony Kennedy will be 84, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg will be 87.
It’s a grim thought, but glancing over some actuarial tables I’d guess at least one (and probably more than one) of the above justices will no longer be on the court by that time. With Antonin Scalia dead, the remaining eight justices would be evenly split between liberals and conservatives — but of the three oldest listed above, two are liberals and only one conservative. With the Supreme Court little more than a venue for partisan combat, the course of the American state over the next presidential term could very well turn on which of several octogenarians manages to cling to life the longest.
The cracks in the American constitutional order are showing.