RIP Justice Scalia

The lion of the U.S. Supreme Court passed away on on February 13, 2016. While I did not always agree with his opinions, particularly his often caustic dissents on “social” issues, he nonetheless was a vocal participant who was driven by his passion and he is deserving of condolences.

Without a doubt Justice Scalia was a strident defender of the 2nd Amendment, opining in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the following:

“We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns. But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home. Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

It will be interesting to see who President Obama nominates for Senate confirmation. This could really tilt the balance of power in the U.S. Supreme Court. One interesting prediction on his nominee is U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, whom has previously been nominated into her current position. It would be bad politics for the Senate to deny Attorney General Lynch even a Senate vote after having already confirmed her. Here is an excellent analysis by Tom Goldstein of the politics concerning the Senate confirmation process and the prediction that Attorney General Lynch will be his nomination over at SCOTUS Blog.