The Supreme Court “battle” is something that affects us all

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died Feb. 13, 2016. Within hours, the media predicted a political battle between Republicans and Democrats. Then began the questions of when and who would be nominated as the new justice.

 But why should that matter to us? After all, the government is just a far away speck. It would take 20 hours of driving time to get to Washington, D.C. What happens there affects the United States, obviously, but do we really feel those effects in South Dakota and at South Dakota Stat University? The simple answer is yes.

 Scalia’s death has started the struggle for control of the Supreme Court. Many Republicans do not want a new justice nominated until after the elections in November so as to maintain the current balance of the court. Many Democrats are arguing that it is the duty to nominate a new justice as soon as possible.

 Since 2016 is an election year, Scalia’s death comes at a critical point for whichever party holds power. There are many key cases that the court will address.

 With Scalia on the court, there were five conservative and four liberal justices. With his death, it’s up to President Barack Obama to nominate a new justice and the Senate to review and approve or reject the appointment.

 I do believe it is the president’s duty to nominate a new justice, regardless of who holds the presidency. I also believe that the president should choose to nominate a justice because of his or her character and skill and not because he wants to support one party.

 What does this have to do with us? If the view of a new justice is different from Scalia’s views, then the outcomes of upcoming cases could be far different than what was expected.

 Decisions made by the Supreme Court change history. In the court case Plessy v. Ferguson, racial segregation was allowed by having “equal but separate accommodations” in 1896. In 1954, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka changed the previous ruling and racial segregation became illegal. Roe v. Wade in 1973 legalized abortion. Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage.

 Every action has a consequence, and the decisions affect us all.

 We live in our own bubble at SDSU. But it is important to be aware of what is going on in our government and search for the truth of every statement made. Whether we like it or not, we cannot afford to live in our bubble at college and be unaware of what is going on.

 If we are to have any say in our government, we need to be informed. Start by liking news outlets on Facebook. Pick up the daily newspaper.

 This column is a very simple outline of what is happening in the Supreme Court. I encourage you to do your own digging and attempt to look at the situation without bias.

 Scalia did his part to guide the United States to what he thought was right. Will you do your part?