Just to flesh out the scenario, let us suppose that Scalia has blown a brain aneurism reaching for a high note while jovially regaling fellow opera buff Ruth Ginsburg with his favorite Scarpia aria. “Presto, Nino, i fortissimo” urges the cagy Ginsburg, taking note of his rapidly reddening face. His body has barely hit the floor when she calmly conveys both the awful news and her own resignation to the White House. She fears that she may not herself survive till 2017.
 
Desperate to save some scrap of legacy, Obama names Elizabeth Warren (just narrowly defeated by Scott Brown in Massachusetts) and David Cole, (son and intellectual heir of Robert Cole, constitutional scholar and liberal giant of Berkeley’s law faculty).
The predictable Repugnant howls are followed by a filibuster which is obviated when Joe Biden casts the deciding vote to uphold the ruling by newly appointed parliamentarian Tom Daschle who found against the attempt by Mitch McConnell to continue debate on the rule change for judicial confirmations first threatened when Dick Cheney presided over the Senate.
Lame duck coup or the salvation of the Republic