Senator Ted Cruz on Sunday announced during an interview ABC’s This Week that he will filibuster any Supreme Court nominee made by President Obama to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, saying “this should be a decision for the people.” On Saturday, Obama said he plans “to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time,” pressing the Senate to “fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.” “The Senate’s duty is to advise and consent,” Cruz said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday. “We’re advising that a lame-duck president in an election year is not going to be able to tip the balance of the Supreme Court.”
Cruz described the Supreme Court vacancy left by Scalia as having a “profound impact” on the Republican primary that will change the contours of the presidential race. He argued voters — not a “lame-duck president” — should decide who will replace the longtime conservative judge who died Saturday. President Obama said Saturday he planned to nominate a replacement for the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Cruz said he would “absolutely” filibuster before the Senate could vote on the nominee. Cruz attempted to appeal to South Carolina’s veterans while jabbing at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
If Donald Trump becomes president, the Second Amendment will be written out of the Constitution because it is abundantly clear that Donald Trump is not a conservative. He will not invest the capital to confirm a conservative, so the result will be the same whether it’s Hillary [Clinton], Bernie [Sanders] or Donald Trump,” Cruz said. “The Second Amendment will go away.”
Cruz previously served as a clerk for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist and argued many cases in front of the Supreme Court during his time as Texas’ solicitor general. Scalia, who died suddenly Saturday at the age of 79, was the court’s longest-serving member and an outspoken conservative champion of the Constitution. During Saturday night’s GOP debate in South Carolina, Trump said if he were in Obama’s position, he would “certainly want to try and nominate a justice.” But the Republican frontrunner urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not to bring Obama’s pick for Scalia’s replacement to a vote. During the debate, Cruz offered his full-throated praise of Scalia, and warned voters that the next justice could have a profound impact on their lives.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, also a GOP presidential contender, took the same view but said a filibuster would not be necessary. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) proclaimed within hours of Scalia’s death becoming public Saturday that Obama should leave the seat empty. A justice was last confirmed in an election year in 1988, when the Senate signed off on Anthony Kennedy. He was nominated by President Ronald Reagan in November 1987 and confirmed unanimously in February 1988, after two previous nominees for the slot faced resistance.