(KCPW News) Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch told state lawmakers on Tuesday that the appointment of a replacement for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia should wait until the next president is sworn into office.
Speaking before the full Utah House of Representatives on Tuesday, Hatch said that “the most contentious presidential election in latter days” was reason enough for the decision to wait. The 81-year-old U.S. Senator told the assembled lawmakers that he also didn’t believe President Barack Obama would nominate “consensus candidate” to replace Scalia.
The Senator’s comments echoed those made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who, soon after news of Scalia’s death broke, stated that the makeup of the court should stay as it is until after the 2017 inauguration.
However, President Obama on Tuesday said that he was well within his constitutional right to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia. Speaking at a press conference following the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Rancho Mirage, California, Obama told reporters that the U.S. Constitution “is pretty clear” when it comes to Supreme Court nominations.
He told reporters that he was “amused” to see his opponents finding room to interpret provisions of the US Constitution “that are not there.”
In the face of the president’s resolve, some Senate Republicans, McConnell included, have vowed to block hearings for Obama’s nominee.
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