The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has turned the 2016 election on its head.
Reports are that Scalia was found dead while on a hunting trip in Texas at the age of 79.
In a statement, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said that Scalia changed how the courts interpret the Constitution.
Today our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history – Justice Antonin Scalia. A champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution, he will go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history.
As liberals and conservatives alike would agree, through his powerful and persuasive opinions, Justice Scalia fundamentally changed how courts interpret the Constitution and statutes, returning the focus to the original meaning of the text after decades of judicial activism. And he authored some of the most important decisions ever, including District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized our fundamental right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms. He was an unrelenting defender of religious liberty, free speech, federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, and private property rights. All liberty-loving Americans should be in mourning.
Justice Scalia’s three decades on the Court was one of President Reagan’s most consequential legacies. Our prayers are with his beloved wife Maureen, their nine children, and their precious grandchildren.”
Cruz was correct. Scalia did usher in an era of activist conservative judges who no longer upheld the law, but made new laws from the bench. Republicans have been hoping for years that the Supreme Court’s conservative majority could hang on until President Obama left office. With Scalia’s death, Obama may get the opportunity to add another justice to the High Court and put an end to the conservative majority.
The passing of Justice Scalia has upped the stakes in the 2016 election. There is no more theoretical talk of a new Supreme Court majority. The Court will need a ninth justice. The election has been thrown a curveball as the question of why type of Justice each candidate will appoint is set to be the dominant focus of the campaign.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association