President Barack Obama on Saturday pledged to fill the Supreme Court seat left open by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia, while Senate Republicans signaled that they would block any nominee.
Two Republican presidential candidates, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, called on the Senate to block any nominee put forward by the president, arguing that the vacancy should be filled by Obama’s successor, notes the Washington Post.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky stopped short of saying he would block any Obama nominee, but he strongly telegraphed Republican opposition to filling the vacancy under Obama. He released a statement, saying, the vacancy should “not be filled until we have a new president.”
Obama pushed back at the opposition, stating that the nomination is bigger than any one party, writes The Associated Press:
With a half-dozen or more major cases before the court, Obama said he planned “to fulfill my constitutional responsibility to nominate a successor in due time.”
Meanwhile, political news outlets such as Politico have been rolling out out names of nominees, including, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, 56; D.C. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan, 48, a moderate who would be the first Indian-American Supreme Court justice; Paul Watford, an Obama appointee on the 9th Circuit Court who is in his late-40s; Merrick Garland, 63, a Clinton appointee on the D.C. Circuit Court; and Patricia Ann Millett, 52, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court.
California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey have also been mentioned as potential nominees, writesThe New York Times.