U.S. Senate leader Mitch McConnell sees ''no action'' on President Obama's Supreme Court justice nomination, while White House spokesman Josh Earnest says that is unprecedented. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday (February 23) the Republican-led chamber will refuse to consider anyone President Barack Obama nominates to become a Supreme Court justice, while white House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama had contacted several Republican Senators who said they favored a "fair hearing in a timely up or down vote". "What Republicans are threatening to do in the context of this Supreme Court nominee is unprecedented. Since 1875 a president's nominee has never been denied a hearing unless that president later withdrew that nomination. And this would be an historic and unprecedented acceleration of politicizing a branch of government that's supposed to be insulated from politics," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing. Citing "overwhelming" consensus among Senate Republicans that the next president, who will take office in January, should select a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, McConnell told reporters there will be "no action taken" on Obama's pick. McConnell also said he would not be "inclined" to even meet with whomever Obama picks to replace Scalia. "The Judiciary Committee has unanimously recommended there be no hearings. I agree with that. And number two, this nomination will be filled by the next president elected in November," McConell said. Justice Scalia, 79, died on Feb. 14 at a West Texas resort.