Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia has died, and commentators believe the Senate battle over his replacement may dominate the presidential race. Scalia was a bedrock conservative, who believed that a constitutional question should be determined by looking at the founding fathers' intentions. Scalia was beloved of conservatives but scorned by liberals and progressives.
Bruce Henderson, a conservative San Diego lawyer, says Scalia "was an extraordinary voice for understanding the constitutional context in which it was created by the founding fathers. He was also one of several leaders on the court; he could bring other votes with him."
"Both the House and the Senate have a majority of Republicans," continues Henderson. "The struggle to replace [Scalia] should be monumental" and may dominate the presidential race. "The likelihood of Obama appointing anyone who could attain approval of the Senate is probably zero and none."
Says Henderson, "I don't think any justice on the Supreme Court was more aligned with the common man's interest. I think of Scalia the way I think of Teddy Roosevelt, a conservative fundamentally concerned with making government work for the people. Scalia was more like a libertarian, [feeling] it is imperative that we constrain [the government's] reach, but let it engage in essential functions of government."
Mike Aguirre, a liberal/progressive who has worked for Henderson (they are friends), differs greatly on Scalia: "He was completely committed to his personal point of view and making that point of view into law. He was an extremist on torture and concentrated wealth."
Aguirre believes Scalia was an advocate for concentrated wealth, and Henderson disputes that view. Scalia "helped to destroy the voting rights laws, the right to bring class actions. He said aiding and abetting fraud was okay.”
Aguirre believes Obama should appoint a moderate immediately to the court.