Supreme Court conservative icon Antonin Scalia was found dead with a pillow over his head, per an interview with the resort owner (And Democratic donor) who found his body in his room. It was somehow immediately determined that Scalia died of unspecified natural cause and that no autopsy would be conducted. Right.
The tinfoil hat crowd was immediately unleashed along with the soothing Pollyannas for whom everything is better and better. The cynical looked at each other and nodded, knowingly. But few know much, nor are they likely to learn. American politics is like that.
What matters is, Justice Scalia has gone. He was the strict constitutionalist who anchored the Right on the Court. What matters is, his ilk have mostly vanished from American jurisprudence. He cannot be replaced, his like are no longer available. The legal culture has moved on just as has the popular one; the system no longer produces Scalias. That matters.
No matter which president may nominate the next Justice, it won’t be a Scalia. It will be one that the great conservative Justice would regard as well to his left. There is no help for it, that is the direction that the country has proceeded, so that is what is available. How far left the new Justice will be remains to be seen; it will be pretty far compared to Scalia, regardless. A legal era has closed. That is important. Whether the good Justice croaked or someone offed him will remain surmise and now that he is gone, relatively unimportant.
Who was behind President Kennedy’s assassination was never so important as his replacement by President Johnson and his “Great Society.” The same is even more true true now.
Enormously influential cases affecting religious freedom, marriage, homosexuality, unions and personal freedom to note a few, hang in the balance now. The world post Scalia is a new world. That is reality; the performances between now and the Court’s next crucial decisions will be political theater. Political reality is already in place; we simply await the details.