WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – The debate over the nation’s highest court is having a big impact on the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates plans ahead of voting contests in Nevada and South Carolina.
While the White House is not expected to release the name of a potential nominee this week, the debate over whether or not a nominee should be announced at all remains controversial.
“There is no way the Senate should confirm anyone Barack Obama tries to appoint in his last year in office to a lifetime appointment,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, during a campaign stop in South Carolina over the weekend.
On Saturday, within just hours of the news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, candidates rushed to defend the 79-year-old’s conservative legacy.
Cruz bets big on court drama
“He was a brilliant man, he was faithful to the Constitution, he changed the arc of American legal history,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, during a televised debate Saturday evening.
Already Sen. Cruz’s campaign has released a television ad urging conservative voters to back his plan to block any nominee the White House puts forward.
On Saturday, Democratic candidates, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders defended President Obama’s plan to send a nominee to the Senate. During a speech at a Denver hotel, Sen. Sanders urged his fellow lawmakers to follow the Constitution.
“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,” said Sen. Sanders on Saturday.
For the latest developments in the Race for the White House follow Mark Meredith on Twitter @markpmeredith