Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is floating the idea that if Hillary Clinton wins the White House, Republicans could refuse to fill the Supreme Court seat left empty by the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia.
If Hillary were to win the election, she will immediately have the opportunity to fill the ninth seat on the court that President Obama has not been able to fill.
But Cruz says that the GOP could choose to continue blocking picks for the nation’s highest court even after Obama and that missing a ninth justice would not be the worst thing that could happen.
“There will be plenty of time for debate on that issue, there is long historical precedent for a Supreme Court with fewer justices, just recently Justice (Stephen) Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job, that’s a debate that we are going to have,” Cruz said in a statement released to the press, according to the Associated Press.
Cruz was referring to an interview Justice Stephen Breyer gave to AFP earlier this year where he insisted that despite being one justice down from the normal compliment of nine, the court was working just fine. Breyer also told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that even with the vacancy, “the mechanics works about the same” with eight justices as with nine.
“For those of us who care passionately about the Constitution and Bill of Rights, who care about free speech and religious liberty and the 2nd Amendment, the best way to protect those rights is to win on Election Day so that we see strong conservatives nominated to the court, and maintain a Republican majority in the Senate to confirm those strong conservatives,” Cruz added.
Cruz isn’t the first Republican Senator to float the idea of the GOP continuing to block SCOTUS picks if Hillary wins.
Early in October, Arizona Senator John McCain noted that the GOP “will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up,” and continue to block any new SCOTUS picks. McCain, however, backed off that idea not long afterward.
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