By Maya Rhodan
February 16, 2016

President Obama repeated his intent to nominate someone to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday at age 79, despite suggestions from Republican Senators that Obama should pass the nomination off to the next President.

“I intend to nominate in due time a very well-qualified nominee,” Obama said Monday, speaking at a press conference in California. “This is the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. The one court where we would expect elected officials to rise above day-to-day politics.”

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell released a statement on Saturday urging President Obama to wait it out. On Monday, Obama denounced how political the process has become, calling it another instance where “venom” and “rancor” in Washington have held up the political process. Obama added that he has plenty of time between now and his final day in office to nominate someone to the court.

“I intend to do my job between now and Jan. 20, 2016. They should do their,” Obama said, referring to the Senate. “I intend to nominate somebody … I expect them to hold hearings … I expect there to be a vote.”

Obama did not say who he would nominate, nor did he say whether he would nominate someone moderate in order to ensure the process runs smoothly, given Scalia’s standing as one of the most conservative Justices on the court.

“You shouldn’t assume anything about the qualifications of the nominee other than they will be qualified,” Obama told the reporter who pressed him about the potential nominee.

 

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