The news that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is dead comes at extraordinary time: right in the middle of a presidential campaign. For this to happen now will bring the discussion of who gets to form the court for another generation to the level it deserves.
The fact is that this issue--who will get to appoint a likely several justices--has not been a significant part of the discussion among presidential candidates as it should have been. Now it will. In fact, watch for it in tonight's debate. It could very well change the whole character of the race--in the primaries and in the general election.
And watch this benefit Ted Cruz, who not only graduated from Harvard Law School, but, as solicitor general of Texas, argued eight times before the Supreme Court.
Oh, and watch Obama try to appoint a liberal successor to the conservative Scalia in the face of a Repbulican-led Congress. It will tell us a lot about Republican leadership there and how willing they are to fight for conservative values.
And it will tell us a lot about the consistency of liberals who, when a liberal justice dies, talk about the importance of keeping a "balance" on the Court.