[Stream of consciousness. Please forgive errors and craziness.] The human brain is very bad at looking to the future.
It's almost impossible to imagine a living person not being here. We naturally assume the future will be a linear progression of the recent past.
Then one of five conservative Supreme Court justices dies. And everything's thrown into chaos.
We have only eleven months until a new president takes the oath of office. Those could be the longest months for America since the Civil War.
Already, Senator Patrick Leahy and President Barack Obama have signaled an intent to replace Scalia with a leftist at any cost. Already, Senato Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Ted Cruz have stated that the next president, not Obama, should fill the seat.
The battle to fill Scalia's Supreme Court seat will likely overshadow the presidential election.
In practical terms, the Supreme Court is not the final arbiter of the law--it is the final creator of law in the United States. As far back as Marbury v. Madison, through Wickard v. Filburn and Roe v. Wade, and up to Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court has invented law in the absence--or even in contradiction--of the Constitution's obvious meaning.
As several conservative justices aged, many of warned of the consequences of a second Obama administration. Romney was no conservative, but a Romney appointee to the court would be exponentially less bad than an Obama appointment.
In that respect, 2012 now becomes more relevant to America's future than 2016. Because, if Obama appoints a replacement for Scalia, the legislature and the executive become mere functionaries of Supreme Court dictates.
If the Senate capitulates to Obama, the best hope for a republican form of government will be a Jacksonian president.
Think the Senate would block it? Maybe not.
Fox News is now discussing the possibility that President Obama may make a recess appointment, eliminating the Senate's power of advice and consent. If that happens, the nation may well shake itself apart.
Whatever the outcome, 2012 now seems far more relevant to America's future than 2016.
But, more importantly, our thoughts for Antonin Scalia and his family.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, the the mercy of God, rest in peace.