Time: 7:30 p.m. CEST Update 11:59 p.m. CEST
President Barack Obama will wait until the Senate returns from recess to nominate a successor to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Reuters said late on Sunday, as the Hill reports. Reuters’ White House correspondent Jeff Mason posted tweet that, “an administration official told him that the president will not push through a nominee this week.”
President Obama on Saturday said, that he will nominate a successor “in due time.”
The death of the Justice Antonin Scalia, who was 79-year-old on Saturday prompted a battle over a vacancy that could reshape the Supreme Court after President Barack Obama said is would nominate a successor and Senate Republicans opinion that the next president should fill the seat, the New York Times reports. Obama gave a statement from Rancho Mirage, paid tribute to Justice Scalia, as “one of the towering legal figures or our time,” a jurist who dedicated his life “to the cornerstone of our democracy: the rule of law.” After words on Justice Scalia, Obama said he plans to “fulfill” his “constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time,” the Times explained.
“There will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote,” the president said. “These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone. They are bigger than any one party, they are about our democracy,” Obama said. If Obama nominates the candidate, his choice would have opportunity for decisive decisions, than previous choices-Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
But, Senate Republicans argued that with just 11 months left in office he should give the choice for the winner of the November general election. “With 54 seats in the Senate, Republicans have the power to block confirmation of any nomination,” by Obama.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, said in a statement. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” McConnell said, as Times reports.
Moreover, approving an Obama nominee could provoke a backlash with Republicans. With Democrats and independents that caucus with them holding 46 seats in the Senate, Obama faces the challenge to have simple majority for a nominee and would need to pass another step for 60 votes in a situation if Republican oppose with a filibuster to his choice. Those examples are rare but happened in 1968 when Senate blocked confirmation of Abe Fortas and allowed next President, which was Richard M. Nixon to go with his nomination.
A tie in the court will leave the decision by the court unchanged in the phase of an appeal, but would not set a national precedent. “The court has the option of setting cases for re-argument in the term that starts in October.”
As the Times says, this situation was not something the White House would like to face. However, Democrats said that possible candidates are judges like Merrick B. Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Other different choices are Sri Srinivasan and Patricia Millet, or Jacqueline Nguyen of the Ninth Circuit. The White House did not offer more details on the timing of a nomination.
Justice Scalia is the first one of the Supreme Court to die in office, as Times writes.
- Mother Jones: “Here Are Six All-Important Cases Now Pretty Much Decided After Scalia’s Death” – The untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia will likely decide several hot-button cases.
- Poynter Institute: “Here’s what journalists need to know for covering Scalia’s death”