Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

POST-SCALIA SUPREME COURT ; Manchin, Capito Split on Replacement

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

POST-SCALIA SUPREME COURT ; Manchin, Capito Split on Replacement

Article excerpt

INSIDE: Judge: Scalia died of natural causes 3A

West Virginia's two U.S. senators are split along partisan lines about whether the Senate should consider a Supreme Court nominee from President Barack Obama, who has just over 11 months remaining in his second term. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is siding with the Republican Senate leadership, which has called for the court seat, vacated with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on Saturday, to remain open until the next president takes office. That would mean an open court seat for nearly a year, until at least January 2017.

Obama has said he will nominate a replacement for Scalia fairly soon.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said that the Senate should consider and vote on Obama's nominee - although, with Republicans in control of the chamber, approval might be unlikely.

The U.S. Constitution says the president "shall nominate justices to the Supreme Court with the "advice and consent of the Senate.

In the hours after Scalia's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released a statement calling for the seat to remain open until a new president is sworn into office.

"Sen. Capito agrees with Leader McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley [R-Iowa] that the next president should nominate Justice Scalia's replacement, Capito spokeswoman Ashley Berrang said. "With just a few months until the election and many important issues pending before the court, West Virginians should have an opportunity to express their views and elect a new president who will select the Supreme Court justice.

Manchin said Obama should nominate a replacement and the Senate should hold a vote on the nominee.

"The Senate should follow its constitutional obligation and advise and consent on the nomination, Manchin said. "We have a responsibility to the American people to fulfill our duties. I will evaluate any nominee before the Senate based on their qualifications and judicial philosophy. I would hope that political posturing in Washington does not prevent me from being able to cast my vote.

Democrats have lined up behind the president, urging a quick replacement.

"It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. …

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