With Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dead at 79 on Saturday, the country has been thrown into turmoil. What happens if another liberal justice gets in? What happens if the Republican Congress defies the constitution and refuses to consider who Obama appoints? Does this mean that the 2016 election is a matter of life and death? The way the candidates running for President are behaving, particularly the Republicans, constantly attacking one another like a pack of angry squirrels, the only way to avoid a year’s worth of further chaos in this nation is for another Justice to die.
With two justices dead, the matter can be settled right away. The Republicans will argue that both appointees be conservative. The Democrats will argue that both should be liberal. And so they can agree on one and one.
But who will die? And how will it be done?
We have Anthony Kennedy, a conservative, who is 79. One can see he’s achieved his three score and 10, a full life. And we have Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a liberal, who is 82 and the oldest person on the court. We have Steven Breyer, a liberal who is 77 and that’s it for those achieving three score and 10.
That leaves Clarence Thomas, a conservative and the only black person on the court, currently aged 67. And it leaves Sonia Sotomayor, a liberal who is 61, Elena Kagan, another liberal who is 55 and Sam A. Alito, Jr., a 65-year-old conservative. And of course there is John G. Roberts, Jr., 61, the Chief Justice, bless his soul.
The court itself could hash out who goes. They could do it like the TV show Survivor where people are voted off one by one until there is just one—the winner. They could do it by picking straws, as terrifying as that might sound. Certainly it could not be done by vote. That would be 4 to 4.
I will not suggest how the death would be carried out, but I will say that doing it is so important it should happen in a way that does not arouse suspicion. Also it should be done quickly and with a minimum of pain. There will be a stir after all. But we’ll get over it. Frankly, the current court shouldn’t be left in a state of anxiety until it happens. After all, they have work to do, even at 4 to 4.