The conservative supreme court justice Antonin Scalia who was anti-abortion and a supporter of the death penalty died on Saturday at the age of 79. His death sparked a battle between President Barack Obama and Congress which is dominated by Republicans over the appointment of a successor.
The death of the conservative justice Antonin Scalia who was appointed thirty years ago during the presidency of Ronald Reagan immediately had an effect on the heated campaign for the presidential elections. A few hours after the death of the judge “in his sleep” in Texas was announced, Obama praised the “unique man” and declared his intention to “fulfil my constitutional responsibility to nominate a successor in due time”. He continued by saying “There will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to fulfil its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.”
However, all candidates representing the Republican Party in the presidential race called on the US Senate to block any judicial nominees appointed by Obama in the supreme court during a television debate on Saturday evening. The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that the next president should be the one to nominate a replacement to a court which is now evenly balanced between four conservative and four liberal justices, not Obama. According to the constitution, the responsibility for the selection of members of the Supreme Court rests with the president whilst Senate has the power to either ratify or reject this appointment.