Obama likely to announce SCOTUS nominee next week

Senate Republicans say they want the next president to choose the nominee


WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) — A White House spokesman said we can expect to learn who President Barack Obama will nominate to fill Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court next week.

The U.S. Senate will return to Capitol Hill on Feb. 22. Republicans in the Senate have made it clear they would rather wait to consider a new nominee until the next president takes office. Such a choice leaves a vacancy on the bench for at least 10 to 11 months.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia administers the oath of allegiance to new citizens, during a ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, in Gettysburg, Pa.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during a ceremony commemorating the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19, 2013.

“It is not normal to wait that long at all, but it’s also not normal to have a 79-year-old justice die suddenly in an election year,” National Law Journal reporter Mike Sacks said.

Sacks could not think of a time in recent history when the Senate refused to even consider a nominee.

“If you want to find a position where during an election the Senate decided to take no action until after the election, you’d have to go way back to 1828,” he said.

Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, claimed he would filibuster any nominee Obama puts forward.

However, before Cruz would get his chance, the nominee must be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the committee’s chairman.

Grassley is on the record saying he does not want to consider any candidates until after the election.

Democrats have rejected the notion that the nomination should wait.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabnow, D-Lansing, told 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday that the pesident must nominate a replacement under the requirements of the Constitution.

“Colleagues can vote yes or no. That’s their right,” Stabenow, who was visiting Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, said. “But they don’t have the right to ignore the Constitution and … before anyone is even nominated indicate that they will not support a rigorous debate and confirmation process. We’ve had 14 Supreme Court justices in our history that were confirmed in a presidential election year. There’s no reason that this can’t be the 15th.”

–24 Hour News 8 contributed to this report.

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