To the editor: The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday has placed huge additional significance on the upcoming presidential election. ("Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies at 79; fiery conservative fought liberalism's tide," Feb. 13)
Certainly President Obama would not engage in a fool's errand by nominating a new justice with less than a year left in his final term, as the dysfunction and hyperpartisanship that consume Congress would doom any such nominee to being hung out to dry. If our next president is a Republican, he will have the opportunity to appoint someone who will replace Scalia and shore up the conservative wing of the court. If the new president is a Democrat, he or she will tilt the balance of the court to the left with enormous ramifications.
Scalia was a reliable hard-right conservative whose absence will place in doubt many key decisions. Many cases coming up will likely be left undecided with 4-4 ties -- not a healthy situation for a country that looks to the court as the ultimate arbiter on the most thorny issues.
A lengthy vacancy on the court is not desirable nor does it make for stability, but it would appear that we shall be saddled with such a muddle.
Oren M. Spiegler, Upper Saint Clair, Pa.
To the editor: When it was time to end slavery, Scalia would have said, "No!"; when Social Security and Medicare were experiencing growing pains, he would killed both in their infancy; when a woman's right to vote was being debated, he would have argued that such a thing was not written into the Constitution; he would have upheld Jim Crow, citing states rights.
Scalia voted for fossil fuels and against climate science; for guns and against safety; for government intrusion into a woman's pregnancy; for billionaires pillaging our political process; for a price-gouging, benefit-denying healthcare system; for voter suppression; for George W. Bush.
Scalia's family, friends and colleagues will miss him. On the other hand, a society that values fairness, reason and progress will not miss him on the court.
Eugene Sison, San Dimas
To the editor: I think most court watchers would agree that the late Scalia was more an idealogue than a justice. He could be counted on to be the most conservative of jurists, which might be excused if not for his recent declaration that there was no more racism in America.
I would not be surprised if the Republicans in the Senate try their best to thwart Obama's pick to succeed Scalia until after the November election, gambling that their candidate will win and be able to make the choice of his replacement.
Joel Rapp, Los Angeles