Scalia dead at 79

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, whose transformative legal theories, vivid writing and outsize personality made him a leader of a conservative intellectual renaissance in his three decades on the Supreme Court, died Saturday. He was 79. 

Almost a month has passed since the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

If anything, the battle lines between Republicans and Democrats over Scalia’s replacement have hardened over the past four weeks.

President Barack Obama is going about his constitutional duty in considering a nominee to return the court to its nine-member full strength.

Senate Republicans declare they will not confirm any nominee put forth by the president. More than that, they won’t allow hearings on a nominee or even one-on-one meetings with a prospective justice.

That posture is a sad reflection of the current state of the Republican Party’s congressional leadership. It has attempted over the past seven years to tear at Obama’s legitimacy. Such partisan nonsense is almost always in season in Washington, but when it comes to the Obama years, we’ve some very low points.

Senate Majority Leader John Cornyn, R-Texas, this week promised that any Obama nominee would be pummelled. Treated like a “piñata,” in Cornyn’s words.

This is a plea to Senate Republicans: Do your job. The Constitution doesn’t require senators to rubber-stamp a presidential nominee to the Supreme Court. It does expect them to seriously consider each nominee.

That’s not going to happen while Senate Republicans, most of whom pledge their undying allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, remain on strike.