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Senate Leaders Spar on Whether Next President Should Pick Antonin Scalia’s Replacement

February 13, 2016

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid sparred on Saturday, shortly after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, over whether President Barack Obama or the nation’s next President should pick Scalia‘s replacement.

The Republican Senator said the U.S. Senate should not replace the U.S. Supreme Court Justice until the American people have chosen the next president, who could in turn nominate Scalia’s successor. The U.S. Senate has a pivotal role in the Supreme Court justice nomination process and has the responsibility of confirming or rejecting whoever the president chooses as their Supreme Court nominee. McConnell statement reads:

Today our country lost an unwavering champion of a timeless document that unites each of us as Americans. Justice Scalia’s fidelity to the Constitution was rivaled only by the love of his family: his wife Maureen his nine children, and his many grandchildren. Through the sheer force of his intellect and his legendary wit, this giant of American jurisprudence almost singlehandedly revived an approach to constitutional interpretation that prioritized the text and original meaning‎ of the Constitution. Elaine and I send our deepest condolences to the entire Scalia family.
The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.
In a blistering response, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada urged the swift replacement of Scalia. He said a delay would be “unprecedented” and “shameful.”
The President can and should send the Senate a nominee right away. 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.
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