Thanks to Justice Scalia’s death, the Court will almost certainly be a key issue in the 2016 presidential contest. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images Less than two weeks ago, I wrote a column reviewing the huge issues that a deeply divided U.S. Supreme Court might soon face, and lamented that appointments to SCOTUS almost never rise to the level of big, publicly discussed issues in presidential elections. That likely changed with the death of Antonin Scalia on Saturday — soon enough before the end of the Obama presidency to let Senate Republicans get away with blocking the confirmation of anyone he might appoint, but far enough away to become an unavoidable source of controversy in both the primaries and the general election. SCOTUS appointments have always been a big deal to liberal and conservative activists, particularly those focused on issues where constitutional law has had an important impact, such as abortion, civil liberties, federalism, and the regulation of businesses. That’s especially true with respect to the Court that Scalia’s death unsettled, where four consistently liberal justices were balanced by three-to-five conservatives, depending on where Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy were on any given case. A recent string of 5-4 splits… Read full this story
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