Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is threatening to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee made by President Obama to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
“This should be a decision for the people,” Cruz said on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. “Let the election decide. If the Democrats want to replace [Scalia], they need to win the election. But I don’t think the American people want a court that will strip our religious liberties. I don’t think the American people want a court that will mandate unlimited abortions on demand, partial-birth abortion with taxpayer funding and no parental notification, and I don’t think the American people want a court that will write the Second Amendment out of the Constitution.”
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.”
Asked whether he would filibuster Obama’s choice, Cruz said: "Absolutely.”
“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.”
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.
Also read: Supreme Court Justice Scalia dies at 79
His death, Cruz said, will have a “profound impact” on the Republican primary — and that voters ought to think about who the next president would nominate to the land’s highest court.
“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,” Cruz said. “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. The Second Amendment will go away.”
Cruz added: “Anyone that writes checks to Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid and Jimmy Carter and Hillary Clinton does not care about conservative justices on the court.”
Cruz, Trump and Rubio pause for a moment of silence in honor of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia before the start of Saturday’s Republican debate. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
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.
“It’s called delay, delay, delay,” Trump said.
Dr. Ben Carson also called on the president to delay picking a Supreme Court nominee.
“We need to start thinking about the divisiveness that is going on in our country,” Carson said. “I looked at some of the remarks that people made after finding out that Justice Scalia had died, and they were truly nasty remarks. And that we have managed to get to that position in our country is truly a shame. And we should be thinking about how we could create some healing in this land.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called Scalia one of the greatest defenders of the Constitution in U.S. history.
“You talk about someone who defended consistently the original meaning of the Constitution, who understood that the Constitution was not there to be interpreted based on the fads of the moment, but it was there to be interpreted according to its original meaning,” Rubio said. “Justice Scalia understood that better than anyone in the history of this republic.”
Rubio continued: “I do not believe the president should appoint someone. And it’s not unprecedented. In fact, it has been over 80 years since a lame duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice. And it reminds us of this — how important this election is. Someone on this stage will get to choose the balance of the Supreme Court, and it will begin by filling this vacancy that’s there now. And we need to put people on the bench that understand that the Constitution is not a living and breathing document. It is to be interpreted as originally meant.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush believes that Obama has “every right to nominate” someone to replace Scalia, but he “needs to appoint someone with a proven conservative record, similar to Justice Scalia, that is a lover of liberty, that believes in limited government, that consistently applied that kind of philosophy, that didn’t try to legislator from the bench, that was respectful of the Constitution.”
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.
“He was somebody that I knew for 20 years,” Cruz said. “He was a brilliant man. He was faithful to the Constitution. He changed the arc of American legal history. And I’ll tell you, his passing tonight, our prayers are with his family, with his wife, Maureen, who he adored, his nine children, his 36 grandkids. But it underscores the stakes of this election. We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that will strike down every restriction on abortion adopted by the states. We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that will reverse the Heller decision, one of Justice Scalia’s seminal decisions that upheld the Second Amendment right to keep and to bear arms.”
He added: “We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that would undermine the religious liberty of millions of Americans — and the stakes of this election, for this year, for the Senate, the Senate needs to stand strong and say, ‘We’re not going to give up the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation by allowing Barack Obama to make one more liberal appointee.’”