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Democrats slam GOP plans to block Supreme Court nomination

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Feb. 13, 2016 at 11:59 PM
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DENVER, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed calls from Senate Republicans to block any replacement for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia nominated by President Barack Obama.

Both presidential candidates spoke before the Colorado Democratic Party's 83rd annual dinner on Saturday, calling for Obama to nominate a replacement for Scalia, who died earlier that day.

"Let me just make one point. Barack Obama is president of the United States until January 20, 2017," Clinton said. "That is a fact, whether Republicans like it or not. Elections have consequences."

Sanders, who would sit in on confirmation hearings and vote on an appointment to the bench, was similarly critical.

"It appears that some of my Republican colleagues in the Senate have a very interesting view of the Constitution of the United States," he said. "Apparently they believe that the Constitution does not allow a Democratic president to bring forth a nominee to replace Justice Scalia. I strongly disagree with that."

Clinton dismissed the Republican argument that presidents should not appoint justices in election years.

"Okay, but the confirmation for Justice Kennedy took place in 1988," she said. "That was an election year and he was confirmed 97 to nothing."

Earlier, both candidates issued statements on Scalia's passing. "I did not hold Justice Scalia's views, but he was a dedicated public servant who brought energy and passion to the bench," Clinton's statement said. "The Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail who are calling for Justice Scalia's seat to remain vacant dishonor our Constitution."

Sanders' statement was even more brief: "While I differed with Justice Scalia's views and jurisprudence, he was a brilliant, colorful and outspoken member of the Supreme Court. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his colleagues on the court who mourn his passing."

While Sanders and Clinton both gave their remarks, Republican presidential candidates debated in Greenville, S.C., where they all agreed that Obama should not nominate a replacement.

"This is a tremendous blow to conservatism," GOP front-runner Donald Trump said."I think it's up to [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and everyone else to stop it, it's called delay delay delay."

Earlier that day, Obama addressed the nation to mourn Scalia. "I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time," he said, calling on the Senate to do the same.

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