President Obama vows to move ahead with choosing a replacement for the late conservative Justice Scalia, despite resistance from Republicans. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he expected the Senate judiciary committee to hold a hearing for his eventual Supreme Court nominee and said it would be difficult for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to block the process for political reasons. Obama, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, said if Republicans defy their constitutional duties, it would deter the ability of any president to make judicial appointments and would diminish the credibility of the Supreme Court. An intense political fight has erupted since the Feb. 13 death of long-serving conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, as Republicans maneuver to foil Obama's ability to choose a replacement who could tilt the court to the left for the first time in decades. The Senate must confirm any high court nominee. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that the Republican-led Senate will not hold hearings or vote on any Supreme Court nominee until after the next president takes office in January. The U.S. presidential election is set for Nov. 8 and Republicans want the next president to fill Scalia's vacancy, hoping a Republican will be elected. Scalia's death left the shorthanded court with four liberals and four conservatives, with Obama's nominee positioned to change the court's ideological balance. Obama already has appointed two Supreme Court justices during his seven years as president. The Senate confirmed his prior two nominees - Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010 - but the chamber was controlled by Obama's fellow Democrats at the time.