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Death of Justice Scalia Creates Supreme Court Vacancy

February 15, 2016
Plain English Version
The Late Justice, Antonin Scalia, is second from the left in the front row.TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Late Justice, Antonin Scalia, is second from the left in the front row. TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court of the United States is important. The United States Constitution makes the judiciary (the courts) the equal of Congress and the President.

The Supreme Court decides if the nation’s laws meet the test of being “Constitutional.” The question is: are the laws allowed by the Constitution?

President Obama recently issued an order on immigrants. A judge at a federal court in Texas said the order could not go into effect. The Supreme Court will decide if the president was correct or if the judge was correct.

There are nine justices on the Supreme Court. One died this past Saturday. He was Antonin Scalia. He was a conservative in his legal decisions. He said laws should fit what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the Constitution.

The first ten amendments to the Constitution are the Bill of Rights. The Founding Fathers were not alive for later amendments. The fourteenth amendment is the equal protection under the law amendment. It means that people in the same situation are to be treated in the same way.

The Supreme Court has ruled that men do not have to marry women. They can marry other men. Women also can marry other women. “Marriage equality” is the term they use. Justice Scalia did not think the Founding Fathers would approve.

Justice Scalia was one of four conservatives on the court. There are four liberals. Justice Anthony Kennedy was the “swing vote.”

The Constitution says the president chooses the justices. It also says the Senate must approve the choice.

Senate Republicans believe the president will want to appoint a liberal. They do not want that to happen.

The United States will elect the next president in November 2016. Republicans do not want President Obama to name a new justice. They want the new president to name a new justice. They hope the new president will be a Republican.

In a word, it is all politics. President Obama will name a new justice. Republicans are a majority in the Senate. They will do everything in their power to see that the person selected does not get their approval.

Source: The Washington Post February 14, 2016

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