Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death shocked everyone when it was announced on Saturday afternoon, and it didn’t take long for it to become highly politicized on both ends of the spectrum.
Rather than taking a moment to focus on the Scalia death as the loss of a human life, conservatives and liberals saw it as an opportunity to become even more divided than they already are with the typical rhetoric.
On the conservative side, it took Republican presidential candidate, and Texas Senator, Ted Cruz only a few minutes to rally conservatives against President Obama and any future attempts to appoint a replacement that he might make.
The call initially came through Twitter in which Ted Cruz said that because of the Scalia death, we “owe it to him, & [sic] the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement.”
The clear implication here is that President Obama is incapable of selecting a justice capable of fairly interpreting the law.
Cruz took a bit more of the high road in a subsequent statement, referring to the late justice as a “champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution,” noting that he would “go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history.”
Business Insider has more of the statement, including this portion.
“As liberals and conservatives alike would agree, through his powerful and persuasive opinions, Justice Scalia fundamentally changed how courts interpret the Constitution and statutes, returning the focus to the original meaning of the text after decades of judicial activism. And he authored some of the most important decisions ever, including District of Columbia v. Heller, which recognized our fundamental right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms. He was an unrelenting defender of religious liberty, free speech, federalism, the constitutional separation of powers, and private property rights. All liberty-loving Americans should be in mourning.”
While the statement can be understood as a respectful remembrance of Scalia’s life, the initial tweet is what had many on the left side of the aisle up in arms.
But the left heaped on its share of nastiness as well with many celebrating the Scalia death with the hope that a liberal Justice would be appointed to replace him, thus tipping the balance of the court in their favor.
MySanAntonio was a particularly horrible place if you aren’t into seeing the worst of humanity. One liberal commenter said that Scalia “belongs somewhere toasty.” Another said that it was “About time that slime ball got his dirt nap. Good riddance.”
A third said that “the man deserved and invited it,” adding, “Hallelujah… Great day for logic and reason in the highest court of our nation designed to defend our constitution.”
And the “party” continued over at liberal news site Mother Jones with this being the nicer of the comments on Scalia’s death: “Good riddance to an awful man. Best news I’ve heard in quite some time. Gives me new hope for this country’s direction.”
The irony, from an Independent voter’s perspective (yours truly), is that many Scalia haters deride him as an “evil” human being, yet their celebrations of his unexpected loss depict an evil far greater than anything Scalia may or may not have done from the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court.
It’s an evil that needs to be stamped out of political rhetoric and our country as a whole, and until it is, this country will never be a great place for freedom and equality, no matter which side of the political aisle that you’re on.
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]