I told you it would be ugly. And now it’s even more so.  Saturday’s GOP debate featured everything but flying pots and pans. But the issues roadmap is different today.  It will now get even more heated, too.  Maybe all debate sessions should open with a classic Michael Buffer wrestling circus "rumble" intro. 

In the wake of the surprising passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Presidential Sweepstakes has changed dramatically.  Some of the candidates need to figure that out quickly. All of the usual charges will now look even more juvenile and petty.

Despite Donald Trump’s latest salvos fired in Saturday’s debate, the real issue now is the Highest Court in the Land and who calls the shots when it comes to replacing Scalia on the Court.  This fact hasn’t stopped Trump’s piling on today with charges of Cruz and/or Rubio and/or Bush lying.  And his assertion that the other Bush, George W., didn’t keep us safe when he was in charge.  For extra measure he threatened to sue Ted Cruz unless he apologizes and suggested he might break his pledge with the GOP not to run "third party". Now Trump hints he may do that after all because he doesn’t like the way debate tickets are distributed to the audience.

In one fell swoop, The Donald also appeared to embraced the Code Pink mantra of "Bush lied, people died". Even Marco Rubio’s counter point that 9/11 happened due to Bill Clinton not killing Bin Laden when he had the chance years earlier got lost in the verbal mayhem.  While plenty of important issues were also discussed, it was often hard to tell in the midst of the hollering and interruptions and rhetorical tantrums.  I almost wished boring ol’ Jim Gilmore had been allowed into the debate to help it all settle down.

Over weekend the State Department also released around 1,000 additional pages of Hillary Clinton’s emails, with 1 in 7 marked classified. One from March 2012 is nearly all redacted because of sensitive information involved. All sent via her private server. The hits just keep on coming.  But even that isn’t as important now (at least in terms of where the debates go).  The election becomes "which side are you on, when it comes to the Supreme Court?"

It’s all different now after Scalia’s death.  The possibility of getting 4-4 ties on the Court (if no new Justice is nominated and approved) means several hot button issues could be left were they were in lower court rulings.  We’re talking abortion, health care, guns, unions and much more.  Here’s more on this issue:

Meanwhile there’s no shortage of hypocrisy as both parties posture for advantage.  Case in point: Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) who now says it’s unbelievable that the Senate would dare block any SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) appointment by President Obama, especially with ten months or so remaining in his term.  This is the same Chuck Schumer who vowed to block any President George W. Bush appointments to the Supremes when GWB has 18 months left to go.  WATCH VIDEO:

The brand new push in the campaign will now be all whether the Supreme Court is about the Constitution or political tactics and control.

President Obama has the Constitutional right to nominate who he chooses. The U.S. Senate also has the right to determine whether there’s a vote now, or later after the election… allowing the people to decide this November.

The good news: For the first time in a long time, the importance of the Judiciary…and the Separation of Powers… will be front and Center in the public discussion and the daily news.  That’s a very good thing.

Categories: Political Analyst Mark Larson