Republican presidential frontrunner Donald J. Trump said during the GOP Debate in South Carolina on Saturday night that in the wake of the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Senate should “delay, delay, delay” and prevent President Barack Obama from appointing someone to fill the vacancy.
While he said he had no doubt that Obama would try to appoint a Supreme Court Justice–creating a new liberal majority on the court–Trump said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should stop him. He added that Scalia’s death was a blow to the conservative movement and to the country as a whole.
Other candidates agreed. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that while it was regrettable that Scalia’s death had instantly become politicized, the nomination should be left to the next president. Dr. Ben Carson, similarly, said that while he was more interested in a discussion about “how we can create some healing in this land,” such that the death of one judge did not divide the whole country, “I fully agree that we should not allow a judge to be appointed during [Obama’s] time.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) argued that Obama should not be allowed to nominate Scalia’s successor, saying that it had been eighty years since a lame-duck president nominated a Supreme Court pick.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that Obama would struggle to have a nominee approved, regardless: “There is no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama will not have a consensus pick when he submits that nomination to the Senate.”
And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who once clerked for the Supreme Court, reminded the audience that Scalia’s death “underscores the stakes in this election.”