Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Monday weighed in on the Senate’s upcoming battle with President Obama over the next Supreme Court nominee, saying he believes Obama “has a conflict of interest” in appointing somebody to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat.
Appearing on conservative Kentucky radio host Leland Conway’s show, the former Republican presidential candidate said he would likely oppose any Obama pick for the Supreme Court, because he believes Obama has too many of his own policies at stake before the high court — his executive actions on immigration and climate change regulations, for example.
“The president has said he has the power basically to create immigration law out of nothing,” Paul said. “He says he has the power to basically cripple entire industries like coal without ever having been given that power by Congress. So see, we have a Constitutional debate on whose powers is it, the president or Congress? And I think the president sort of has a conflict of interest here in appointing somebody while we’re trying to decide whether or not he’s usurped power.”
Under the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, presidents have the power to appoint Supreme Court justices with the “advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate. Paul clarified that he agrees the president has the power to appoint someone to replace Scalia, but that he likely would not give his consent to do so.
“It’s going to be very, very, very difficult to get me to vote for a presidential nomination from this president,” he said. “I will look at it if it comes down, but my threshold for voting for somebody is going to be very, very high.”
Paul also said because of this “emotional time with the president trying to usurp so many of Congress’s powers,” it would be “difficult to believe that there wont be a filibuster over this.” Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has already said he plans to filibuster any Obama-led Supreme Court nominee.
“Were not going to take it lying down and let the president have his way without one heck of a fight,” Paul said.
Listen to the full interview here: