I am an avid follower of The Supreme Court of the United States. Over the years there have been Justices that I truly had a lot of respect for and some that I had a hard time figuring out how they got on the bench. It isn't just conservative Justices that I admired but from both sides of the spectrum.
Chief Justice Rehnquist of course is towards the top of my list but also towards the top of my list is Justice Black, Justice Stevens, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Blackmun, Justice O'Conner, Justice Souter, Justice Bryer and many others.
As for the newest members of the court, Justice Kegan I feel has more than proved her worth to the court and Chief Justice Roberts has proven that he is the right man in the right job.
Those that I wonder how they got on the court? Well, for starters Justice Sotomayor, in my mind has no business being on the high court. I listen to Supreme Court arguments all the time and the questions that she asks show to me a Justice that comes to court ill prepared and with little understanding of what issues certain cases are addressing. Justice Marshall, in his younger days on the court, impressed me greatly but as he aged, it became clear that his mind was not understanding what was going on, kind of Justice Sotomayor does in her early days.
By far, at the top of my list, sat Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia was a strict constitutionalist who spoke his mind, his thinking even though he was seen as the devil incarnate to most liberals. Whether you like his standing on issues or not, if you read or listen to Scalia, he always, and I mean ALWAYS had sound backing for his decisions on issues. That doesn't mean you had to agree with him, there were a few times I didn't agree with him, but the fact that he could stand up and give sound reasoning for his philosophy always won my respect.
Justice Scalia sat on the bench for half of my life. I am 59 years old and Scalia sat on the bench for 29 years before his sudden death last week. Being on the court that long, and for the majority of my interest in the court, of course Scalia would have an effect on how I see the workings of the court.
Scalia always showed respect to his fellow justices. You look on youtube for instance and you can see him discussing issues with Justice Breyer or Justice Ginsburg several times. They treated him with respect and he gave back the respect that those justices deserve.
Scalia was a force to be reckoned with for sure. He would grill the lawyers who came to the Supreme Court unprepared or with a weak argument. There were times when he would taunt a few of them for wasting the courts time or for arguing an issue that was not before the court.
Scalia understood the Constitution better than most any Justice that served. He believed in what the Constitution said and not what society thought it should say as times and values changed. Scalia thought that no matter what the times were, the Constitution spelled out what was right and what was wrong and he would argue Constitutional points as long as he could BUT he would always listen to other views at the same times.
Up until Scalia's death, the Supreme Court was probably the most balanced it has ever been. I referred to it as a 4-4-1 court. During the last several years, the court could go either way on a number of issues, and has. Basically you had on the left Ginsburg, Bryer, Kegan and Sotomayor while on the left you had Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts. Then you had the wild card. Justice Kennedy is a true centrist. For a vast majority of the decision recently, it depended on what Justice Kennedy thought of an issue as to how the court would go. There have been a few surprises here and there, like when Roberts sided with the liberals on the affordable care act. For the most part though, it has been an extremely balanced court.
Scalia's death changes all of that. Chances are a liberal will take Scalia's seat and make it a 5-3-1 court to the left. If the President, or future President and Congress want the Supreme Court to work properly, I would hope that a centrist like Kennedy would be appointed. The court needs balance.
We have all seen in the past what can happen when a court is over conservative or over liberal. Things get out of whack and they get out of whack rather quickly. It will not take much to undo all of the progress that the Roberts court has achieved.
I am just sitting hoping that wise personalities will look at the court from a perspective outside of party lines and try to keep the court balanced. IT works better balanced. It has been proven to be so.
From what I have heard from Congress, presidential Candidates, and the President that will not be the case.
That saddens me. Scalia and his 29 years on the court could mean nothing within ten years.
Scalia will be missed. He will be missed if you are conservative, he will be missed if you are liberal. He was a genius who understood law and how it should be applied.
Please, keep a balanced court in place.