Legal Roundtable: ‘Scalia's death has made people think of how undemocratic the Supreme Court is’
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death raises many issues. Among them are the possibility of 4-4 decisions until the vacancy is filled and the likelihood of President Obama’s appointment of a successor to get Senate confirmation.
On Monday’s monthly Legal Roundtable a panel of legal experts joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss this and other issues.
The guests were:
- Bill Freivogel, professor in the school of journalism at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale;
- Mark Smith, associate vice chancellor and director of the Career Center at Washington University;
- Jared Boyd, chief of staff and counsel at the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office and president of the Mound City Bar Association
Freivogel said that while Scalia was a great legal thinker, he will likely be remembered for being “on the wrong side of history,” especially about women’s rights, same-sex marriage and school desegregation.
Smith said that Scalia wouldn’t care what side of history he was on. “He would say it wasn’t for the court to make those changes—that’s for the legislature,” he continued.
On a larger level, however, his death has made the Supreme Court a number one issue to keep in mind during the election year.
“Justice Scalia’s death really has made people think about how undemocratic the Supreme Court is,” Boyd said. “It is probably our least democratic institution. If you receive a lifetime appointment, you’ll probably serve 30 years absent poor health. The Supreme Court throughout our history has really led from behind and thwarted civil rights initiatives, populism, wage protections and has been behind the president and the House of Representatives in enacting changes that help people. People really have the opportunity to reexamine the role of the Supreme Court and think about what Scalia’s successor will have the power to do—to be the final arbiter on issues like abortion and birth control. These are people who will be unchecked after they are confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”
Who do you hope will replace Scalia on the Supreme Court?
Other topics of discussion included:
- The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, after city leaders attached conditions on a consent decree
- University of Missouri assistant professor Melissa Click gets no jail time for Mizzou incident
- Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice State of the Judiciary Address
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