Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was a firm believer in our Constitution's separation of powers — the assignment of distinct and sometimes offsetting powers to the different branches of the government. That separation provides the checks and balances that ensure we have "a government of laws, not of men."
It is thus oddly fitting that Scalia's death should stir a national conversation about the relative powers of the president and the Senate in filling the Supreme Court vacancy that now exists. No one doubts President Obama's power to make a nomination. But some were surprised when the Senate's majority leader announced that the Senate would not even consider confirming any such nominee, but would instead wait for the American people to elect a new president.