I just turned on CNN and saw the news. SCALIA is DEAD! Sitting Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Antonin Scalia died this morning at age 79. He had served 30 years in the High Court, appointed at age 50 by Ronald Reagan in 1986. He was a conservative!
My first reaction was shock. As if I lost a long lost friend. It was that much of a shock – because it was so unexpected – and he had such a huge impact on my civil life. It is important news not only for this country, but also for many in the LGBT community who have been terrorized by this man’s stature on the bench. A man who we have perceived as hateful and improper when it comes to his less than decent commentary and rulings around same-sex equality.
Now President Obama has an opportunity to make a huge final mark in his legacy. To appoint a liberal Judge before he leaves office, to finally tilt that bench in the direction it ought to go! You can imagine that a Senate in Republican hands will do everything it can to stop a liberal vote. This is going to be a very dramatic 2016! It will also play a very important role in the current presidential campaign. Although the knowledge has always been there that a SCOTUS seat would need to filled in the next eight years.
David Axelrod, political consultant, notes: “A seismic event on the presidential campaign.”
In the meantime SCOTUS could feasibly have an empty seat for some time. Ideological opposition aside, Scalia was a giant in American law. According to CNN commentator, SCOTUS legal expert, Jeffrey Toobin: “… you can almost say in American History there has never been another with such a significant influence on the U.S. Constitution.”
It is a tough call to be respectful. I believe there is a way to show our delight that he can no longer hurt our LGBT rights, while at the same time acknowledging that he did serve our country, in a way that to him and those whose ideology he serves, seemed appropriate. We are a country of differences. He was a brilliant jurist. However he applied it in a way that hurt many of us. I for one am glad he can do no more harm! He will probably be remembered as a great American. However if we do not express ourselves authentically at this time, his legacy will exclude how badly he hurt us!
An important point to remember is that the Conservatives and right wing will hail him a hero and martyr him and in doing so they will politicize his death and insert him into their campaigns. THAT is why it is very important for us to write about how he hurt us. So that his legacy is in fact tainted. But we must do it in a respectful way so there is no backlash.
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION from LGBT community and allies: ( we will keep adding comments)- Let us know how you members of LGBT community feel.
2:00 PM Sat Feb 13th.
UPDATED FEB 14, 2016: