About the man himself, there isn’t much to say that Ross Douthat didn’t already say. I’ll only add that his iconic status should really go beyond the political or the legal. He’s the patron saint of swimming against the tide and doing it magnificently. The tide moves on nonetheless.
As far as the political fallout goes, everyone on the right suddenly has a strong principled opposition to confirming SCOTUS nominations in an election year. Everyone on the left suddenly has a strong principled stance that the president has an absolute right to have his nominees confirmed no matter how much time is left in his term.
This is silly. Everyone knows that if Ruth Ginsburg had died in early 2008, they’d all be arguing the reverse. The Constitution is silent on the matter, so spare me the arguments from abstract principle.
Here is the real argument for blocking Obama’s nominee: The Left’s main path for crushing its enemies has been through the courts. One more leftist on the court gives them free rein. Any Republican who lets in an Obama nominee through the Trojan horse of comity and tradition is a traitor to Christians and everyone else not under the left-wing umbrella, and should be treated accordingly.