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Hatch Urges Caution In Supreme Court Battle

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

Sen. Orrin Hatch is urging President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate to hold off on appointing a successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  

Hatch insists that caution should be used in the face of this year’s heated election cycle. While not totally ruling out any nominee, he said that the fairest way to select Scalia’s replacement would be to wait until after the next President is sworn in.

“We’re in one of the most contentious presidential elections in history. Supreme Court nomination confirmation hearings are always contentious,” Hatch said. “Not always, but ever since the Democrats shot down Miguel Estrada and ever since they shot down Robert Bork, who was one of the greatest legal minds in this country. The fairest way to handle this is to put it off to next year. Whoever is the President will have the opportunity of doing it.”

Scalia’s death could alter the outcomes of certain cases currently being considered by the Court. Hatch said that the Court will not be unduly hindered if the Senate waits to confirm a ninth member.

“Look, the Court will function very well with eight justices. On the really contentious issues before the Court, they’ll put those off until this new justice is appointed,” he said. “This is nothing new, this is something that the Court can live with. It will still function. The country’s not going to be any worse off. In fact, it would be worse off if we don’t have a process that is, basically, as apolitical as we can make it.”

According to the U.S. Constitution, the President may appoint federal judges with the advice and consent of the Senate.