ELKO, Nev. — Hillary Clinton predicted Monday that President Barack Obama will nominate someone who’s already been confirmed by the Senate to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The Democratic candidate for president said that would potentially increase pressure on resistant Republicans to consider Obama’s choice for the high court.
“I’m hoping that we will get somebody nominated that will get people saying, ‘Hey, the only reason you’re blocking this is pure partisanship, so do your duty,’” Clinton said in response to a question at a campaign stop in the remote northeastern Nevada mining town of Elko.
She added that some judges now serving on the federal appeals courts “were confirmed 99-0” by the Senate.
In the wake of Scalia’s death Saturday, Republican senators and several GOP presidential candidates have said Obama should not seek to replace the revered conservative jurist during the final 11 months of his term in office. Instead, they argue, that choice should be left to the winner of this fall’s presidential election.
Obama has said he will make a nomination, and Clinton and her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have both expressed outrage at the potential of a GOP-led Senate refusing to consider it.
“I think the president is going to look for somebody who has the record that is going to be hard for the Republicans to be against,” Clinton said. “Somebody who is a sensible person with a good record, and maybe somebody who’s already been confirmed by the senate.”
Clinton also said Monday that Democrats could recapture the Senate in November by winning seats in states such as New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, where she argued a Republican refusal to consider an Obama nominee wouldn’t play well with voters.
“But we also have to make it a voting issue,” she said.
Clinton visited Elko as she battles to win Nevada’s Democratic caucuses on Feb. 20, a race viewed as tightening as Sanders battles to expand his support among Nevada’s multiethnic communities. Clinton headed from Elko to Reno for other campaign events, while Sanders campaigned Monday in Michigan.