Replacing Supreme Justice Scalia and the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Over the weekend we lost one of the nine justices on the Supreme Court, Anton Scalia. Sadly, Scalia died in his sleep. Shortly after the news broke about the Death of Justice Scalia, many politician’s and political analysts began to speculate on who his replacement would be. President Obama has the executive authority to name the next justice on the supreme court. Many politicians, mainly republicans, were in an uproar over Obama wanting to name a new Justice during the remaining months of his Presidential term. I am no political expert and have no insight or major political opinion on this matter. So what does this have to do with a class about the Economic Theory of Networks?


Actually the death of Justice Scalia has created a huge Prisoner’s Dilemma. A prisoners dilemma is when there are two players, and each player acts in their own best interest to pursue a course of action that does not result in an ideal outcome. In other words, each party chooses what gives them the best possible outcome.

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with the death of a Supreme Court Justice? First of all, any executive decision made by President Obama to nominate a new Justice must go through Congress. Easy, right? Not so much in this case. As most of you know President Obama is a Democrat, but the House and the Senate is controlled by the Republican party. This is where the prisoner’s dilemma comes into play. President Obama will most likely make his nomination for a Justice that fit in the Democratic mind set.The leaders of the House and Senate have already made it clear that any nomination by President Obama would be shot down if the nominee was part of the “Left Wing” way of thinking.