Death of supreme court justice sparks major debate


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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died Saturday February 13th at the age of 79. Officials say he died in his sleep of natural causes during a visit to Texas. Scalia was the longest serving justice on the Supreme Court and also one of the most conservative. His unfortunate passing has led to a major debate about whether or not President Barack Obama should be allowed to nominate a successor because this is an election year and whoever he chooses, if selected, could push the Supreme Court more toward the liberal side. Harry Reid, a Senate Minority Leader says that the President should nominate someone as soon as possible due to the major issues that are currently pending before the Supreme Court. Reid also made a statement saying, “It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential Constitutional responsibilities.” But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell disagrees, saying that the next President should be the one to appoint a successor. Capitol Hill wasn’t the only place where this topic was debated; the Republican presidential candidates also focused on this during their debate, just a few hours after news of Scalia’s death broke. All of the Republican candidates agreed with McConnell saying that the Senate should hold off until a new President is in office, but Hillary Clinton, one of the Democratic candidates, believes that the President should be able to nominate someone. “The President has a responsibility to nominate a new justice and the Senate has a responsibility to vote.” Clinton states. Ultimately, the U.S. Senate makes the final decision on whether to hold hearings and vote on a Supreme Court nominee. So far, it’s not clear whether any hearings will take place.