2016-02-17 / Features

Scalia Vacancy Sets Off Fierce Political Brawl

The vacancy on the US Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia could set off a battle royale between Democrats and Republicans over choosing a replacement for him.

President Obama, through his deputy press secretary, offered his “deepest condolences” to Scalia’s wife and nine children early last Saturday morning.

Some time later that day, the president was on TV announcing that he was serving notice that he would be sending down his choice of a replacement for Scalia with the hope that the US Senate would in due course hold hearings and then a vote on Scalia’s replacement.

But Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) responded: “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.”

Democratic Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (D–Nevada) responded: “The president can and should send the Senate a nominee right away,” adding that the hearings and debate usually take about two months and “it would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat.”

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