It took little time after news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday for partisans to dig in over who should fill the vacancy, with President Barack Obama vowing to make a nomination and Senate Republicans preparing to block it.
Immediately into the fray?
Gov. Jerry Brown.
After Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the vacancy should be filled not by Obama, but by his successor, Brown responded on Facebook, “Couldn’t Mitch McConnell have the decency to at least wait until the funeral before playing cynical politics with this vacancy. Such obstruction and sheer arrogance is unconscionable and deserves the condemnation of all Americans.”
Brown has become far choosier in the fights he takes up than he was when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983. And it is not as though his voice on this issue is unique. With such high stakes – the next justice will determine the balance of a court now divided between four conservative appointees and four liberals – Democrats across the country are arguing for Obama to make the selection.
But Brown has taken a special interest in the court, especially as it concerns efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a priority of the governor.
It was only a few days ago that Brown was taking a shot at the court – and, in the majority, Scalia – over its order putting Obama’s Clean Power Plan on hold until a lower court as resolved a legal dispute surrounding it.
Brown said on Twitter last week, “As the world gets hotter, these justices appear tone-deaf as they fiddle w/procedural niceties.”