Sanders criticizes GOP position on court nominee

Scalia, 79, was found dead at the Cibolo Creek Ranch resort in West Texas on Saturday.

In a 2008 interview with "60 Minutes", he told correspondent Lesley Stahl that he believes the Constitution is an "enduring" document he wants to defend.

Scalia, who grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Harvard Law School, was a leader of the "originalist" ideology that looks at the US Constitution through the lens of its framers' 18th century intentions.

"The point is, he moved the Court in ways that the Court would never have moved before, even though we have these disastrous opinions coming from the Court, the brilliance of his decisions ... he was able to cobble together often four justices, sometimes five justices". A champion of our liberties and a stalwart defender of the Constitution, he will go down as one of the few Justices who single-handedly changed the course of legal history.

Chief Justice John Roberts described his former colleague, who was known for his strident conservative views and theatrical flair in the courtroom, as an "extraordinary individual and jurist".

Scalia's replacement would be Obama's third Supreme Court appointment - joining Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Both parties wasted little time marking the battle lines for a clash that could continue until President Barack Obama leaves office.

After a long career practicing and teaching law and serving as a federal judge, President Ronald Reagan nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat September 26, 1986. As far as the details, I think it's pretty vague right now as to how.

The former Florida governor said there should be "consensus orientation on that nomination" - but added that he didn't expect Obama would pick a candidate in that vein. He and Michelle Obama extended their deepest condolences to Justice Scalia's family.

"There's always a short-list of potential justices that court experts and watchers have in their heads; Mr. Obama will be cognizant that he is replacing a conservative icon and that might temper his choices, leading him to try to find someone that at least some Republicans in Congress might find acceptable", the CNN reported on Sunday. Justice Scalia served our nation at the highest level, and did so with great commitment.

In Saturday's debate, NY billionaire Donald Trump called Scalia's death a tremendous blow to conservatism and the country, adding no one can block Obama from nominating a justice.

His position was echoed by a pair of senators seeking the GOP presidential nomination: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

The president also saying that when he names a nominee, he hopes the Republican-led Senate will fulfill its responsibility and give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., fired back a counterstatement: "Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate's most essential constitutional responsibilities".

Cruz, an opponent of same-sex marriage, also hit on the marriage issue during his statement, which stressed the importance of electing a president who'll appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court.

Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton said Republicans calling for a delay "dishonor our Constitution".

Scalia, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in Trenton, New Jersey and raised in the Queens neighborhood of New York City.

"He brought intellect, good judgment and wit to the bench", Bush said in a statement.



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