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February 13, 2016

Intellectual Engine of Conservative Court, Justice Antonin Scalia Found Dead of Natural Causes at Texas Ranch

He was 79.

And what comes next, you can only guess. Obviously the goal now is to delay any confirmation of a judge until Obama has safely gone back to Chicago. We'll see if today's GOP can even manage that small bit of resistance.

It is crass to leap to this, but everyone is going to say it so I might as well say it early: as this underlines the great stakes of the Supreme Court, this hurts Trump, and might even wind up boosting the alleged "candidate who can win," Marco Rubio, unfortunately. (Of course it would help Cruz as well-- the question is, which would it help more?)

Events, dear boy. Events.

Why It Hurts Trump: It hurts Trump partly because of concerns about his electability -- his unfavorables remain extremely high, higher than any other candidate (and among the highest unfavorables of any major candidate since pollsters began tracking them).

It also hurts Trump because there is a juicy quote out there where he suggested his sister, a NY State judge and a liberal one, would make a very fine Supreme Court justice.

That quote has gotten a little press, but now it will go into ads. A lot of ads.

Update: Mike Lee's Press Secretary Says No Way In Hell.

Lee is a member of the Judiciary Committee.

The Quote: Trump said his sister would be a "phenomenal" Supreme Court judge, but also said "we will have to rule that out now, at least."

His sister is a pro-choice extremist who finds bans on partial birth abortion to be "semantic" unconstitutional parsings.

Trump will stress the second part of his quote. His opponents, however, will stress the first part.

This will of course be a major issue in tonight's debate. We'll see how it goes.

Recess Appointment? Gabe notes that Obama will try to push someone in in a recess appointment. That makes it important for McConnell to declare pro forma sessions in all off-days, so that the Senate never goes into formal recess.

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