Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death has quickly sparked a heated debate over whether President Barack Obama should nominate a replacement.
The leader of the Senate, Republican Mitch McConnell, says the nomination should fall to the next president. The Republican-led Senate would confirm any nominee by Obama.
Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio also say Obama should hold off on a nomination.
Democrats immediately raised objections. The Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid, says it would be “unprecedented in recent history” for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacancy and urged Obama to send the Senate a nominee right away.
Leaders in both parties are likely to use the vacancy to implore voters to nominate presidential candidates with the best chance of winning in November’s general election.