Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during the Democratic debate hosted by CNN and New York One at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, April 14, 2016.
Lucas Jackson—Reuters
April 14, 2016 11:07 PM EDT

The topic of President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court came up at Thursday night’s Democratic Debate and Sen. Bernie Sanders said if were elected president, he would ask Obama to withdraw his nominee, Merrick Garland.

“If elected president, I would ask the president to withdraw that nomination,” Sanders said Thursday.

The Vermont senator clarified that he believes the president has every right to nominate someone to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. “A third grader in America understands the President has the right to nomination someone to the Supreme Court,” Sanders said, while adding that Republican leaders in the Senate have vowed not to hold hearings or votes for Obama’s nominee.

But, Sanders has a very specific litmus test for Supreme Court justices and in his opinion, Garland is not up to snuff on Citizens United. Any nominee, he said, would need to make it “crystal clear” that he or she would vote to overturn Citizens United.

It wasn’t the first time Sanders voiced his disinterest in the president’s nominee, though he has said he would vote to confirm him. In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Sanders said, “I think there are some more progressive judges out there.”

When asked Thursday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she did not want to engage on hypotheticals. President Obama, she said, is “on the right side of history.”

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