Presidential Hopefuls Sound Off on Sudden Death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
The Supreme Court's most outspoken conservative, Justice Antonin Scalia, was found dead at 79 on Saturday, the many people hoping to take President Obama's place next year have all shared their reactions to the news.
Scalia, a father of nine and grandfather of 28, was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986. Not surprisingly, Republican and Democratic candidates had far different opinions about how Scalia should be replaced after offering their condolences to his family.
In a statement, Republican front-runner Donald Trump called Scalia "a remarkable person...a brilliant Supreme Court Justice, one of the best of all time."
At the evening's debate in South Carolina, Trump joined the night's Republican chorus of calls to stall any attempt by Barack Obama to appoint a new justice to the bench until he's replaced.
The totally unexpected loss of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is a massive setback for the Conservative movement and our COUNTRY!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2016
Statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: pic.twitter.com/xazj9dDd5c— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 14, 2016
"It’s up to Mitch McConnell to stop it," Trump said, referring to the majority leader of the Senate, where any justice nominated by Obama must be confirmed. "It’s called delay, delay, delay."
Trump's rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, agreed and said conservatives could not risk losing influence on the court "for a generation" with an Obama-nominated justice.
On the other side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton applauded Scalia's "dedication" and "passion" for the bench before she tsk-tsked Republicans for pushing for a delay.
Justice Scalia will go down as one of the great Justices in the history of this republic. #GOPDebate— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 14, 2016
At Mass, Columba & I prayed for Justice Scalia, who was devout in— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) February 14, 2016
faith and has been brought home to God in heaven. https://t.co/Bumxa6Ikrs
"The Senate has a constitutional responsibility here that it cannot abdicate for partisan political reasons," Clinton said in a statement.
Clinton's Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, called Scalia "brilliant, colorful" but left it to his fellow Senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy, to do the politicking.
"The Supreme Court of the United States is too important to our democracy for it to be understaffed for partisan reasons," said Leahy.
In the center, Jeb Bush was the lone Republican to suggest Obama should be allowed to go through with an appointment.
And Ohio Governor John Kasich just said everyone should keep their mouths shut about the whole controversy for a while.
"I just wish we hadn't run so fast at the politics," the Republican candidate said.