The debate over whether it should be President Barack Obama or his successor who appoints the next Supreme Court justice is heating up.
Writing in today's Washington Post, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid says by refusing to approve an Obama nominee to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, the GOP-led Senate would "aim a procedural missile at the foundation of our system of checks and balances." But Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch tells CNN that the Constitution doesn't specify a "time constraint" for approving a new justice.
The No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, said today that he expects Obama to select a consensus candidate who could get bipartisan support. But Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texan who has practiced before the high court and is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, has vowed to filibuster any nominee.
It also remains to be seen what strategy President Obama will employ in choosing his nominee — will he choose someone with a liberal record, knowing that the Republicans are all but sure to block the nomination?
If Obama goes liberal, does that fire up Republicans and boost turnout? Or does he choose someone moderate, possibly even someone who's been nominated before by a Republican president? And does that backfire on Republicans if their delay the nomination regardless of the nominee?
Meanwhile, a wild presidential race becomes even more important, as each party knows the stakes for the Court's future. At stake are Affirmative Action, gun laws, campaign finance restrictions, and the reach of Presidential power.
With Files from the Associated Press.
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the School of Law at UC Irvine and an expert on constitutional law
Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review.
Marcia Coyle, Chief Washington Correspondent, The National Law Journal; as a lawyer and journalist, Coyle has covered the Supreme Court for 25 years; She’s also the author of “The Roberts Court: The Struggle for the Constitution;”
Rory Cooper, GOP strategist and managing director at Purple Strategies, a political consulting firm in Washington, D.C. He was also the communications director for former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Celinda Lake, a political strategist and president of Lake Research Partners, a Democratic polling firm based in Washington DC