COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–The sudden and tragic death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is setting up a fight between President Obama and senate Republicans on the nomination of his successor.
“The loss of Scalia is huge. He was such a huge figure on the court. I think he’s one of most transformative justices we’ve ever had,” said Chris Walker, Assistant Professor at OSU’s Moritz College of Law.
Walker clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy from 2008 to 2009. He says under the Constitution the president can nominate a replacement for Scalia. But Senate Republicans have the power to not vote on it, even not consider it.
“That has political costs especially in an election year with a congress that has been labeled a do nothing congress,” said Walker.
Of the early names being mentioned, Walker points to newly appointed D.C. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan as a strong candidate.
“Siri Srinivasan on the D.C Circuit Court was appointed by a vote of 97 to zero. That’s a name that’s been floated around a lot. It’s hard to say when you’ve had a unanimous vote. The atmospherics are good for the President on that one,” said Walker.
President Obama says he will put forth a nominee in due time. And conservatives are closely watching.
“We live in an era where the Supreme Court and the politicization of the Supreme Court is much different. We see the power of Supreme Court justice with life tenure and how it shapes the Constitution and shapes the way federal laws are interpreted. I think the stakes are a lot higher now more than ever,” said Walker.