Entering into the conversation of what promises to be heavily-scrutinized selection and an impassioned confirmation examination, Vice-President Joe Biden anticipates President Obama to forward a “consensus” pick to replace the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the High Court.
“The Senate gets to have a say. In order to get this done, the president is not going to be able to go out, nor would it be his instinct anyway, to pick the most liberal jurist in the nation and put them on the court,” Biden told Minnesota Public Radio on Thursday.
Biden made his comments on the same day Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) admitted to MSNBC he had conversed with the president and Mr. Obama foresaw a nominee to be introduced in a matter of weeks.
Biden’s remarks follow several days of dispute between the White House and the GOP-controlled Congress on whether or not the White House should present a nominee to the Senate or wait until the inauguration of the next president in 2017.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was explicit in a statement released by his office:
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
McConnell’s press release drew sharp criticism. Harry Reid said refusal to consider Mr. Obama’s choice to replace Justice Scalia would be a “shameful abdication” of Senate duties and branded a lengthy vacancy on the High Court due to political quibbling “unprecedented.”
Amid the cavil, several GOP senators such as Dean Heller, (NV), Thom Tillis (NC), and Bob Corker (TN) support confirmation hearings. Charles Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, initially opposed to presiding over a confirmation session, but has indicated he is amenable to holding hearings for a potential White House nominee.
Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, reversing an earlier position, now recommends delaying a nomination for the next president.
Entering into the discussion this week was former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who challenged Republicans for favoring the position a nominee should be presented by the next president.
“I don’t agree. We need somebody in there to do the job – and just get on with it,” said O’Connor to an Arizona television station.
[The Hill] [Reuters] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Politico]