At a CNN town hall event in South Carolina on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said that he “probably would” nominate a Supreme Court justice to fill deceased Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat if he were in President Barack Obama’s position — even though he thinks Scalia’s seat shouldn’t be filled until 2017.
“Would I nominate someone? I probably would,” Bush said, noting that the president has the authority to appoint Supreme Court justices under the U.S. Constitution. “I think the presidency — we should be respectful of the Constitution, but whatever powers are afforded the presidency, the president ought to use them. They are there for a purpose.”
But while he admitted he would nominate a replacement for Scalia if he were in Obama’s position, Bush also said that in this case, another Supreme Court justice should not be appointed until the next president takes office. The position is in line with the majority of Senate Republicans, who are pledging not to let Obama fill the open Supreme Court seat, no matter who he nominates.
“In this current environment, where you have such a divisive kind of environment in Washington, it is unlikely that the Senate would provide the necessary consent for that nomination,” Bush said. “And I think it probably is better to have a — make this part of the election.”
Bush is not the only Republican presidential candidate who has said the vacant Supreme Court seat should not be filled until after the election. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recently said the same, adding that he believes the 2016 election should now be all about who gets to choose the next justice.