B²: Scalia and SCOTUS

We lost a great man on Saturday.

In just 72 hours, much has been written about Justice Antonin Scalia’s life and legacy on the Court.

But headlines have quickly turned to the bench’s void and President Obama’s determination to nominate Scalia’s replacement “in due time.” On the other hand, Republicans insist (via Mitch McConnell and others) that “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

No doubt you will be asked to comment on this disagreement as it unfolds. But (unless you’re an expert on the nomination process) do you know how to address the tragedy as well as your talking points in a 30-second answer?

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “Do you think Republicans are right to block Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court regardless of the blowback from Democrats?”

: “Justice Scalia’s death was untimely and tragic. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. No matter who fills that spot on the Court, whether Obama’s nominee or the next President’s, he or she will have to consider <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, first acknowledge the loss suffered. You have to meet the emotion of the situation BEFORE you launch into talking points. This rule applies to every tragedy regardless of the politics involved or the inevitable headlines. You have a heart, so don’t be afraid to show it. But also make sure you can easily pivot to your talking points.