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How The Republican Candidates Responded to Justice Scalia’s Death


Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 9.45.57 PMThe six remaining Presidential candidates kicked off tonight’s Republican Debate with prompted remarks on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump initiated the collective thought that President Obama should not nominate a successor to Justice Scalia during the last year of his last term as President. Trump expressed confidence in the idea that President Obama will attempt to appoint a new justice and went so far as to list potential nominees: Diane Sykes, a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and Bill Pryor, a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Trump remarked to thunderous applause,

It’s a tremendous blow to conservatism and a tremendous blow to our country… It’s up the Mitch McConnell and the Senate to stop it. It’s called delay, delay, delay.

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz began his remarks by stating, “[W]e have 80 years of precedent of not confirming justices in an election year.” Cruz continued by noting the importance of the new vacancy as underscoring the stakes of the current election. The Texas Senator emphasized his desire to nominate a principled Constitutionalist, like Scalia, to the Court.

Justice Scalia was a legal giant. He was a brilliant man, he was a faithful man…The Senate needs to stand strong. We cannot let Barack Obama nominate another liberal appointee.

Marco Rubio

Senator Rubio also affirmed his belief that the President should not appoint a justice and made a passionate plea for how the Constitution should be interpreted.

This loss is tremendous. He will go down as one of the great justices of this Republic. He understand that the Constitution should not be interpreted on the fads of the moment…The Constitution is not a living and breathing document, it is meant to be interpreted as originally meant.

John Kasich

Governor Kasich chose to preface his remarks with a condemnation of partisan politics and a criticism of the expediency with which politics became the headline in the wake of Scalia’s sudden death.

I would like the President for once to put the country first. I believe the President should not move forward with a nomination. I think we ought to let the next President decide.

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush poignantly observed the Constitutional premise underlying the Supreme Court nomination process. While Bush believes there should not be a specific-issue litmus test for the Court, he believes only justices with a proven record in the judiciary should be nominated.

The simple fact is that the next President needs to appoint someone with a proven Conservative record. Of course the President has every right to nominate a justice.

Ben Carson

Carson chose to comment on the importance of the Supreme Court as an institution of the American governmental system and opined on the the thinking of a lifetime appointment as antiquated, given that the “average age of death was 50” when the language was written. Ultimately, Carson agreed with the other candidates that President Obama should not nominate a justice.

I fully agree that we should not allow a judge to be appointed during his [President Obama’s] time.

Stay tuned to for legal analysis of the Republican Presidential Debate.

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