It would be unseemly to pretend at this point that the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is one that particularly affects my sentiments about him; I may send my best regards to those who mourn him, but I don't particularly mourn his passing from the bench. I've expressed my issues with his views on several occasions, and don't feel it necessary to say pleasant things about him in death.
As others have already jumped to politicize his death, I feel a bit insulated about discussing it as a political matter. If we were living in a less polarized time, the idea of a sitting president appointing Scalia's replacement would simply be seen as within that president's constitutional authority. In this president's second term, however, the opposition has become so used to the idea of blocking everything he does, however necessary it may be, that this conclusion that no appointment be made until after the presidential election was reached before it was even really confirmed that Scalia had indeed died.
The concept of "too soon", apparently, has also passed.
What this leaves us with is the specter of 4-4 decisions, and a highlighted sense of urgency regarding the coming presidential election as a referendum on who should determine the composition of the court--which I am not sure that Senators McConnell, Cruz, et als. have considered will also motivate liberals to go to the polls. In other words, I am not sure that blocking Obama in selecting a new justice is going to be quite the success that trying to repeal Obamacare or shutting down the government has been.
But they will do as their consciences dictate. I'm sure.