Just minutes after the public learned Justice Antonin Scalia, the longest-serving Supreme Court judge, had died of natural causes on Saturday, conservatives were already vowing to block any future high court nominations from President Barack Obama.
Scalia’s death comes in the midst of a hotly contentious election year, with candidates battling it out to win their party nominations.
GOP candidate and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announced that conservatives should block Obama a mere hour and a half after Scalia was pronounced dead.
Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 13, 2016
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell echoed him.
— E McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcSan) February 13, 2016
Conn Carroll, a key staffer for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was also vowing to block the nominations, which have not been made yet.
What is less than zero? The chances of Obama successfully appointing a Supreme Court Justice to replace Scalia? — Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) February 13, 2016
He later recoiled in horror at the media talking about the political implications of the justice’s death.
If anything this will put a full stop to all Obama judicial nominees going forward. — Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) February 13, 2016
CNN and Fox News are both talking about the politics of Scalia’s death. OMG. The monsters. — Conn Carroll (@conncarroll) February 13, 2016
GOP candidate Donald Trump also rushed to comment on the loss of Scalia.
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
Fox News host Todd Starnes also vowed that the Republicans wouldn’t let any Obama nomination pass.
The Republicans have the power to run out the clock — but will they have the courage to do so? — toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) February 13, 2016
Craig Parshall, a constitutional attorney for the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, wrote:
With Scalia gone, Senate must delay Obama Sup Ct nom till election. — Craig Parshall (@CraigParshall) February 13, 2016
No nominees until we get a new President. The GOP Senate should not confirm a SCOTUS nom for a lame duck POTUS. — Amanda Carpenter (@amandacarpenter) February 13, 2016
Many others weighed in on the demand that seating a new justice is halted till after the election, with the extra caveat that they wanted the decision to wait not just till after the 2016 election, but until a Republican gets elected president.