The bench of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is seen draped with black wool crepe in memoriam inside the Supreme Court in Washington, February 16, 2016. Scalia died on
|February 13, 2016 at the age of 79. [Photo/Agencies]|
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he plans to pick an "indisputably" qualified Supreme Court justice nominee and urged Republican lawmakers to "rise above day-to-day politics".
"There's not going to be any particular position on any particular issue that demands whether I nominate them, but I'm going to nominate somebody who is indisputably qualified for the seat," he said at a press conference.
While acknowledging the political stakes of a nomination and the pressure Republican senators were under in the election year, Obama said the Supreme Court nomination should come above partisan rivalry.
"This will be a test, one more test of whether or not norms, rules, basic fair play can function at all in Washington these days," said Obama.
It was the first time Obama made a public comment about the current partisan fight unleashed by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia. And his remarks came moments after Senator Charles Grassley, the Republican chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee, left open the possibility that he would hold hearings on Obama's nominee to replace Scalia.
Shortly after the news of Scalia's death was released, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he did not think Obama should nominate anyone as his presidency is to end in 11 months.