President Obama To Choose Successor Following Justice Antonin Scalia’s Death
Conservative Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who voted against Obamacare, same-sex gay marriage and said affirmative action sends black students to schools “too advanced” for them, has peacefully passed away at age 79 while in Texas.
Now, Republicans are trying to stall President Obama right to pick a new successor as soon as possible according to CNN reports:
Within two hours of Scalia’s death being reported, presidential candidates along with Republican and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill were feuding over whether Obama should appoint a replacement for the eloquent and outspoken Scalia or wait for the next administration to make a decision. The battle lines underscored the huge political stakes in the 2016 election, which could cement the ideological balance of the court for years to come.
Obama said Saturday he would nominate a successor “in due time,” but Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted the next administration should make the appointment.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” the Kentucky Republican said. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid issued a scathing statement, previewing the heated fight ahead.
“The President can and should send the Senate a nominee right away,” Reid said. “With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible. It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”
News of Scalia’s death broke hours before the latest Republican presidential debate and added another explosive element to a heated GOP primary campaign. Even before Saturday, the fate of the Supreme Court was already a key election issue, given the possibility that the next President could get the chance to nominate at least two or three Justices due to the age of those on the bench and the possible shift of the ideological balance of the court.
Fun Fact: Republican presidents Herbert Hoover and Ronald Reagan filled Supreme Court vacancies during election years.