He admits he will not choose a moderate candidate to fill vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
REUTERS | By Jeff Mason: President Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed to pick an indisputably qualified nominee for the Supreme Court and chided Republicans who control the U.S. Senate for threatening to block him from filling the pivotal vacancy.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]RELATED NEWS: White House confirms that Obama will NOT be adding Judge Scalia’s funeral. Biden will attend instead. When asked whether Obama’s Saturday plans include golfing, Earnest stressed instead that the president believes it is important to honor Scalia’s life and service. [/pullquote]
Obama told senators he has a constitutional duty to nominate a new justice after Saturday’s death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and reminded them of their constitutional obligation to “do their job” and vote to approve or reject his nominee.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the seat on the nation’s highest court should remain vacant until Obama’s successor takes office in January so voters can have a say on the selection when they cast ballots in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
“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,” Obama said.
Obama’s nominee could shift the balance of power on the court, which had five conservatives and four liberals before Scalia’s death. Obama shed little light on whom he would choose or how the White House will try to finesse his choice through Congress.
“We’re going to find somebody who is an outstanding legal mind, somebody who cares deeply about our democracy and cares about rule of law,” Obama said. “I’m going to present somebody who indisputably is qualified for the seat, and any fair-minded person, even somebody who disagrees with my politics, would say would serve with honor and integrity on the court,” he added.
Asked directly if that meant he would choose a moderate candidate, Obama said, “No.”
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