President Barack Obama on Saturday said he intends to nominate a new Supreme Court justice to replace Antonin Scalia.
“I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time,” Obama said, delivering remarks from Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage, California.
Scalia, 79, died Saturday in Texas. His death leaves the Supreme Court with an even split of Republican and Democratic appointees during an election year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Obama to leave the nomination for Scalia’s replacement to the next president. “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” he said in a statement. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid expressed opposition to leaving Scalia’s seat unfilled for so long. The next president won’t be inaugurated until January 2017.