Update 9 p.m.: In an address to the nation mourning the passing of Justice Scalia, President Obama made clear his intentions to nominate a Supreme Court Justice to replace Antonin Scalia, as well as his expectation that the Senate will give that nominee consideration and a timely vote. "I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor, in due time," Obama said. "There will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. These are responsibilities I take seriously, as should everyone. They're bigger than any one party. They are about our democracy." Watch the full video, below:
This story was originally published at 4:15 p.m. Ted Cruz would like to reserve the nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice, to replace Antonin Scalia, for the next president. After Justice Scalia's death was announced, Cruz tweeted, "Today, our Nation mourns the loss of one of the greatest Justices in history — Justice Antonin Scalia." He followed it with a tweet that has politicos on both sides of the aisle discussing the workings of executive appointments:
The president has the power to appoint justices to the federal and Supreme Courts, as well as the court of appeals and district courts, according to the Constitution. That power is balanced by requiring that the appointments be confirmed by the Senate. There is no restriction that would require President Obama to withhold a replacement nomination by the law, but given that he is only the president through the rest of 2016, this could be Cruz announcing his intentions as a member of the Senate to hold up any nominations put forth. It's a maneuver conservatives used in 2015, blocking Obama's nominee for Attorney General Loretta Lynch, with the aim of forcing the president to reverse his executive action that deferred deportation for certain undocumented immigrants to the ire of the Republican caucus, according to the New Yorker.
While Cruz was one of the quickest to point out political implications of the gap in the Supreme Court left by Scalia’s passing, he’s certainly not alone. The GOP is quickly closing ranks against the possibility of a third Obama appointment to the Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also called for the appointment to wait until the next administration, when the possibility of a Republican in office would likely lead to a more conservative nominee. "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” McConnell said in a statement, hinting at an uphill battle for any Obama nomination. Cruz, as the first-place winner of the Iowa caucus, is in the running to earn the GOP presidential nomination. If he does, he would potentially be making the nomination from which he currently feels the president should abstain.