Saturday evening, sources began reporting that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had died at a resort in Texas. He was 79. Scalia was the longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, having been confirmed unanimously by the Senate in 1986. In a statement confirming his death, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said, “He was an extraordinary individual and jurist, admired and treasured by his colleagues. His passing is a great loss to the Court and the country he so loyally served.”
While the country will certainly mourn the loss of such a significant figure, airwaves are also filling up with opinions about the justice’s replacement. According to a White House correspondent, President Obama will wait until the Senate is in session to announce his nomination for Scalia’s successor. But, there has been some debate about whether or not Obama should be the one to nominate the new Justice or if that should be left to the next president. Though Obama’s term is coming to an end in early 2017, the power and responsibility to name a nominee clearly lies in the hand of the President. But, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many of the GOP candidates believe the space would be best left vacant for nearly a year until a new administration is running the White House. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice,” McConnell said in a statement Saturday. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president. President Obama, though, has said that he will announce a successor “in due time.”
“I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to name a successor in due time. 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. These are responsibilities I take seriously, as should everyone. They are bigger than any one party, they are about our democracy. They are about the institution to which Justice Scalia dedicated his professional life and making sure it continues to function as the beacon of justice that our founders envisioned.”
Tiffanie is the Social Media Coordinator at RELEVANT. She enjoys assorted Italian meats, meaningful conversations, and long, romantic walks to the fridge. You can follower her life adventures on Twitter @tiffaniebrunson.