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Wake Up To Politics - February 15, 2016

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Monday, February 15, 2016
5 Days Until the NV Dem Caucuses/SC GOP Primary
277 Days Until Election Day 2016 I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.    Justice Antonin Scalia Dies, Battle Over Successor Begins

  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of natural causes while on a hunting trip at a Texas ranch Saturday. Scalia, the longest-serving member of the current Supreme Court, was 79. The death of one of the court’s most conservative justice immediately set off a debate over who should succeed him, and who would appoint the successor.
  • Scalia was a rigid believer of originalism – interpreting the Constitution in keeping with the intents of those who wrote it – which resulted in his famed dissents, wittily railing against abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action, and his emergence as a leader of the Supreme Court’s conservative wing.
  • “He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues,” U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a statement. “His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”
  • Born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1936 to an Italian immigrant father and first-generation Italian-American mother, “Nino” Scalia graduated valedictorian at Georgetown University in 1957, with a degree in history, and in 1960 from Harvard Law School. His career began with six years as an Ohio lawyer and four years as a law professor at the University of Virginia, before joining the Nixon Administration.
  • Under President Richard Nixon, the young attorney served in the Office of Telecommunications Policy and as chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, and later testified before Congress on the Watergate scandal as an Assistant Attorney General in the Ford Administration. In 1976, Scalia argued before the Supreme Court in Alfred Dunhill of London, Inc. v. Republic of Cuba, his only experience as a Supreme Court advocate.
  • President Ronald Reagan appointed Scalia to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1982, placing him on the influential D.C. Circuit, a common stepping stone to the Supreme Court. It was at the D.C. Circuit that Scalia cultivated his reputation as a conservative jurist, which resulted in his appointment to the High Court in 1986.
  • Scalia was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in a 98-0 vote, unanimous approval that will almost certainly not be granted to his successor, an as-yet-unnamed individual already the focal point of a debate just beginning to play out.
  • While hailing Justice Scalia as a “larger-than-life presence on the bench” and “a brilliant legal mind with an energetic style, incisive wit, and colorful opinions,” President Barack Obama on Saturday signaled he would indeed by nominating a new Justice, in face of Republican opposition.
  • “I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time, Obama said. “There will be plenty of time for me to do so, and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.”
  • Many Republicans urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to refuse to hold a vote on Obama’s nominee in such close proximity to a presidential election.
  • “This should be a decision for the people,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a presidential candidate, said on ABC’s ‘This Week’. “If the Democrats want to replace this nominee, they need to win this election.”
  • McConnell acquiesced, saying in a statement that “this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president” and signaling plans to block any nominee of the current president. Many congressional Democrats attacked McConnell for his stance, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stating that “the American people don’t like this obstructionism” and predicting that “a lot of the mainstream Republicans are going to say: ‘I may not follow this.’”
  • Indeed, vulnerable Republican senators running for re-election – such as Pat Toomey (PA), Mark Kirk (IL), Ron Johnson (WI), Kelly Ayotte (NH), and Rob Portman (OH) – may have a difficult time defending decisions to block Obama’s nominee, especially if the nominee represents a valuable demographic for them to capture.
  • Minorities top speculation over Obama’s shortlist, including D.C. Circuit judge Sri Srinivasan, who would be the first Indian-American and Hindu justice; Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who would be the first female African-American justice; and Ninth Circuit appeals judge Jacqueline Nguyen, who would be the first Asian-American justice.
  • Other potential picks range from D.C. Circuit judge Merrick Garland and Patricia Millett to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Johnson.
  • In the meantime, Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court will stay empty, with huge effects on the future of the Court, the presidential election, this presidential term and the next, the U.S. Senate, and the race to control the chamber after 2016.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule President Barack Obama is spending the next two days at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, where he is hosting leaders of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a summit on issues facing the Asia-Pacific region.
  • At 3pm, President Obama will greet ASEAN leaders as the arrive at the Sunnylands estate.
  • At 3:35pm, Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and Trade Representative Jason Froman will hold a working session with the gathered ASEAN leaders. The first meeting will focus on “the economy, specifically promoting regional prosperity through innovation and entrepreneurship,” according to the White House.
  • At 7:30pm, the President will host a working dinner for the ASEAN leaders at The Historic House of the estate.
  • *All times local (Pacific Standard Time)

2016 Central

  • Today on the Trail Almost all of the Republican presidential candidates head to South Carolina today (ahead of the state's Republican primary Saturday), except for John Kasich, who's skipping the conservative Palmetto State in favor of the more moderate Michigan (which votes on March 8). Meanwhile, on the Democratic side: Bernie Sanders also treks to Michigan, while Hillary Clinton campaigns in Nevada (which votes next on the Democratic calendar, on Saturday).
  • South Carolina
  • Jeb Bush Rally with former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in Charleston
  • This event marks the former President’s first campaign event for his brother. Despite Bush 43’s unpopularity when he left office in 2009, his stock among conservatives (such as South Carolina voters) has risen in recent years. The Bush campaign the support Bush 43 will bring in the Palmetto State can outweigh the potential risks of Bush 45(?) appearing with his controversial brother.
  • Ben Carson Church Visit in Spartanburg
  • Carson campaign: “Join Ben Carson as he pauses from normal campaigning to put the focus where it should be, on the Lord and what only He can do for our nation. We will be joined by American soul and gospel singer Koryn Hawthorne, Southern gospel group The Crabb Family, and Christian singer Vicki Vohe, among others.”
  • Ted Cruz Rally with conservative radio host Glenn Beck at the University of South Carolina in Aiken; Meet and Greet at Ten Eleven Galleria in Camden; Rally at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology in Florence
  • Marco Rubio Town Halls at Baxter Hood Center in Rock Hill, Francis Marion University in Florence, and Harmon's Tree Farm in Gilbert
  • Donald Trump Rally with televangelist Mike Murdock at TD Convention Center in Greenville
  • Michigan
  • John Kasich Town Hall with Michigan Sen. Majority Leader Alan Meekhof and former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Event with Michigan House Speaker Pro Tempore at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Town Hall in Utica
  • Bernie Sanders Rally at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti
  • Sanders campaign: “Sanders will discuss a wide range of issues, including the need to grow and strengthen America’s middle class by supporting the right for workers to organize and collectively bargain, taking on Wall Street and raising the minimum wage, his plan to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, ensuring universal healthcare for all and fighting against a corrupt political campaign finance system to restore our democracy.”
  • Nevada
  • Hillary Clinton “Get Out The Caucus” events in Elko and Reno, Women’s Health Meeting in Reno
  • Clinton campaign: “Clinton returns to Nevada as the only Democratic candidate who has the lifetime of experience to make a real difference for families.”

Question of the Day

  • Today’s Question Antonin Scalia broke ground for what demographic with his appointment to the Supreme Court (what “first” did he achieve)?
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light