Scalia’s Replacement — Who and When?

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death was announced Saturday, February 13, and Washington is asking — arguing — three questions. Who will Scalia’s replacement be? When will Scalia’s replacement be chosen? Which president will choose Scalia’s replacement?

As reported in the Inquisitr previously, the choice of Scalia’s replacement is already a topic of acrid debate in Washington and across the nation. Late Friday night or early Saturday morning, controversial Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in his sleep. His family announced the sad news on Saturday, February 14. Before his body was cold, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would block any attempts by President Obama to nominate Scalia’s replacement. The New York Times confirmed that many Republicans agreed to follow McConnell’s lead. According to Time, several Republicans, including candidate Donald Trump, want the 45th president of the United States, not the 44th, to nominate Scalia’s replacement. This would leave the Supreme Court evenly balanced between four conservative and four liberal judges for nearly a year, without an odd number to break a tie.

Our nation’s 45th president will be sworn in on Friday, January 20, 2017, at noon. Until 11:59 a.m. on that day, Barack Obama is the duly elected president, which means according to Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, it is his right and duty to nominate Scalia’s replacement. President Obama has said he intends to do so “in due time.” Given that Scalia was 79 when he died, that the average age of the current Supreme Court is 69 and a half, and that three of the current justices are over 75, it seems probable that Obama has already considered possible nominees to the Supreme Court.

Who are the leading candidates to be Scalia’s replacement? Several names have been mentioned, including Anita Hill. Here are five of the most likely men and women to be considered as possibilities for Scalia’s replacement.

“Sri” Srinivasan is an Indian immigrant, currently on the D. C. Court of Appeals. Padmanabhan Srinivasa was approved by 97 senators when he was appointed to the Court of Appeals. He’s a Stanford graduate and has argued 25 cases before the Supreme Court. If selected as Scalia’s replacement, he would be the first Hindu and only the fourth non-Christian to be a Supreme Court justice. If he becomes Scalia’s replacement, he would also be the first Asian-American to sit on the Supreme Court.

Loretta Lynch is the first female African-American Attorney General of the United States. Like many Supreme Court justices, including Scalia, she’s a Harvard graduate. She might have trouble being approved as Scalia’s replacement — she was only approved as Attorney General by a 56-43 Senate vote.

Paul Watford is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UCLA School of Law. He’s currently a circuit judge for the 9th District Court of Appeals. He clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1995 and 1996. He’s considered a moderate, which might help create a balanced court if he were to become Scalia’s replacement.

Patricia Ann Millett, like Srinivasan, is on the D.C. Court of Appeals. Like Lynch, a she’s a Harvard graduate. She’s argued over 30 cases before the Supreme Court. If selected as Scalia’s replacement, she’d be the fifth woman on the Supreme Court in history and the fourth woman currently, creating the closest thing the Supreme Court has ever had to a gender balance.

Jacqueline Nguyen is a Vietnamese immigrant. Like Paul Watford, she’s a circuit judge for the 9th District Court of Appeals, and like him, earned her law degree from UCLA. Like Obama, she attended Occidental College, although some years after he transferred to Columbia. If selected as Scalia’s replacement, she would be the first Asian-American on the Supreme Court.

McConnell wants the 45th president to select Scalia’s replacement. Obama intends to choose Scalia’s replacement himself, as the Constitution permits and requires him to do. Who will Antonin Scalia’s replacement be, and who’ll choose him or her?

[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]