Tuesday in Rancho Mirage, CA. at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit news conference, President Barack Obama emphasized the what the Constitution said about his responsibility to nominate a replacement for recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Obama said, “The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now. When there is a vacancy on the supreme court, the president of the United States nominates someone. The Senate is to consider that nomination. Either they disapprove of that nominee or that nominee is validated to the supreme court. Historically, this has not been viewed as a question. There’s no unwritten law that says it can only be done on off years. That is not in the Constitutional text. I’m amused when I hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the Constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there. There’s more than enough time for the Senate to consider, in a thoughtful way, the record of a nominee that I present and to make a decision. And with respect to our process, we’re going to do the same thing that we did with respect to Justice Kagan’s nomination and Justice Sotomayor’s nomination, we’re going to find somebody who is who has an outstanding legal mind, somebody who cares deeply about our democracy and cares about rule of law. There’s not going to be any particular position on a particular issue that determines whether or not I nominate them, but I’m going to present somebody who indisputably is qualified for the seat and any fair-minded person, even somebody who disagreed with my politics would say, would serve with honor and integrity on the court.”