By: Matthew Quallen
On February 13, news of Antonin Scalia’s death hit the Republican Party like a thunderbolt. Racing out of Texas, the news stunned the would-be Republican nominees, who observed a moment of silence during a debate that same night. The death of the conservative jurist jolted a sleepy senate to life: within hours, senators left and right cast the opening salvos in what promises to be a nasty fight over the balance of the Supreme Court. That fight pushes on, gathering steam. And while the hurly-burly intensifies, pundits on both sides breathlessly analyze exactly what is at stake: major decisions on abortion, affirmative action, unions, Native sovereignty, religious freedom, and districting during the Court’s current term alone. As some candidates tell it, until and unless a neo-Scalia takes a seat on the bench, the Court’s fidelity to the constitution is blowing in the wind.