By Katie Sittig-Boyd
On Saturday, Feb. 13, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at 79. Scalia’s death leaves the high court without its conservative majority, and sets the stage for his successor earlier than anticipated.
Scalia was part of a 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, but now, in the wake of his passing, the justices could be split 4-4 in cases addressing some of the most controversial issues in the U.S., including abortion, immigration policy, and affirmative action, to name a few.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, have stated that the nomination should fall to the next president.
Sen. Harry Reid, the chamber’s top Democrat, said that leaving the court with a vacancy for a year would be “unprecedented in recent history.”
In spite of outspoken Republican protest, President Barack Obama made clear during a press conference on Saturday night that he will nominate a successor to Scalia, who the President described as “one of the towering legal figures of our time.”