Scalia’s death elicits reflection, political calculation from Colorado Senate crowd
Author: Ernest Luning - February 13, 2016 - Updated: February 16, 2016
Colorado officials mourned the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday of natural causes while on vacation at a Texas ranch.
“Our hearts are broken over the loss of Justice Scalia,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in a statement. “A lifetime dedicate to the rule of law and the love of country, he was a guardian of the Constitution and the separation of powers established by our Founding Fathers. Jaime and I extend our condolences to his wife, Maureen, and join the country in mourning the loss of a great American.”
“I express my deep condolences to the family of Justice Antonin Scalia who served our country on the Supreme Court for nearly 30 years and was the first Italian-American to be appointed to the highest court,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
Scalia was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan and became a leading conservative voice on the court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate should postpone confirming a replacement for Scalia until after the November election, ramping up the stakes for the presidential election and key U.S. Senate races, which could tilt the majority.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President,” McConnell said in a statement.
Bennet is seeking re-election and is considered the lone vulnerable Democratic incumbent this cycle. At least a dozen GOP candidates are running in a primary for the seat.
Bennet’s Republican challengers also expressed grief and condolences. Some said they hope the GOP majority in the Senate confirms a justice who will carry on Scalia’s conservative legacy on the court.
“My prayers are with the Scalia family today,” said state Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton. “I am also praying the Republican Senate majority will stand strong when they make the final decision over who replaces this champion of conservative values. Constitutionally sound conservatives must stand together and ensure that Justice Scalia’s principled stance on the Constitution will not be replaced with someone who lacks respect for our God-given rights.”
“As far as the schedule is concerned,” Neville added, “the U.S. Senate is going to have the final say on who gets approved. So whether it happens now or after the next election, the Republican Senate majority needs to stand strong and only confirm a nominee that will stand firm in defense of the Constitution. ”
“My prayers are with Justice Antonin Scalia’s family,” said former Aurora Councilman Ryan Frazier. “Our nation’s first Italian-American on the high court, he was colorful, controversial at times, but always sought to uphold our constitution in interpreting the law as the founders of our great nation would have intended. Even those that disagreed with him respected his enormous intellect.”
Frazier suggested that it’s too soon to consider the battles that might loom over his replacement on the court.
“Let’s allow his family, friends, and supporters to grieve and begin to heal before we begin the rigorous process of naming and confirming the next High Court Justice,” he said.
“Today’s passing of Antonin Scalia, sees the exit of one of the true great legal minds in American history. Justice Scalia will be remembered as one of a handful of Supreme Court justices for his wit, insights, and profound understanding of our Constitution,” said Colorado Springs business consultant Robert Blaha.
“A vigorous debate will shortly follow regarding his replacement,” Blaha said. “That outcome will shape American jurisprudence for decades to come.”
The Statesman reached out to the other candidates for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat up for election this year but did not receive immediate response.