Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep on a west Texas hunting vacation this weekend. Scalia was 79. He was one of the most colorful figures in American public life -- brash, outspoken, passionate about the things he believed in, a devout Catholic who raised nine children and had 28 grandchildren (!). Yes, he was also someone whose philosophy I profoundly disagreed with 85 percent of the time, but I think the sum of humanity is much, much greater than our differences. My deepest condolences to his family members and friends who lost a loved one on this Valentine's Day weekend.
Honestly, I think it's a tad early to be politicking on this one, which I guess places me way out of the mainstream (Mitch McConnell and Hillary Clinton didn't think so.) I'll have a lot more to say -- not really about Scalia, but about the process for replacing him on the High Court -- tomorrow. Stay turned, if you have the stomach for it.
In the spirit of McConnell et al., I will quickly note that while hardcore GOP senators -- especially the bulk who aren't facing re-election in 2016 -- are spoiling for a fight with President Obama and possibly beyond, there's also a half-dozen more moderate Republicans who are a) locked in a tight re-election battle this fall and b) are terrified by the Scalia-replacement issue and simply want it to go away.
No. 1 on that list: Pennsylvania's own Republican Sen. Pat Toomey; CNN has an interesting report on this:
Whether vulnerable Republicans will change that dynamic remains to be seen. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who is in a tough Senate race, issued a statement Saturday praising Scalia's tenure on the court, but didn't address whether he opposes any nominee coming for a vote.
Toomey of Pennsylvania made similar remarks, and a spokesman declined to comment Sunday.
Wow. What if Toomey -- a Wall Street kind of guy who rode the Tea Party wave into the Senate in 2010 -- ended up becoming the vote that ensured a liberal majority on the Supreme Court for the next generation?. Wouldn't that be something?...which is why it probably won't happen. If not, Fetterman or whoever else the Dems nominate will hammer Toomey on this all fall. To paraphrase David Axelrod on CNN earlier today, Aaron Sorkin could have written this crazy script.