News / USA

    US Supreme Court Vacancy Triggers Political Fight

    Flowers are seen as a woman stands in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., after the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Feb. 14, 2016.
    Flowers are seen as a woman stands in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., after the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Feb. 14, 2016.
    Ken Bredemeier

    In always politically combative Washington, the newest battle is over a name not yet known, whoever President Barack Obama nominates for the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

    Obama, now in the last year of his presidency, says he will nominate a candidate for the lifetime position, and expects the Senate to give his choice a public hearing and to vote on it. But the unexpected high court vacancy, coming in the midst of the 2016 presidential campaign to pick his successor, leaves him with a variety of considerations in making the choice.

    Chief among them is which possible nominee has a chance of winning a nomination fight in the U.S. Senate, where the majority Republicans are none-too-anxious to give the Democratic president the chance to clear what would be his third selection on the nine-member court.

    Choice could tip balance

    The nomination decision, depending on Obama's choice, is especially crucial because it could tip the ideological balance on the court from the current five to four conservative majority that included Scalia, to one favoring the court's four reliably liberal justices.

    Numerous Republicans are vowing to block any Obama selection, with Democrats saying the court should not be left with a vacancy for a year or more until the next president takes office and names a Supreme Court candidate.

    FILE - The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a group portrait at the Supreme Court in Washington, October 2010.
    FILE - The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a group portrait at the Supreme Court in Washington, October 2010.

    Already, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the country's next president, to be elected in November and taking office in January, ought to make the choice, to effectively give voters a say in the Supreme Court selection. Two Republican senators running for president, Ted Cruz of Texas and Florida's Marco Rubio, have vowed to fight against any Obama nominee, no matter who it is.

    With such political opposition, Senate Republicans could effectively run out the clock on Obama's presidency, and his Supreme Court nominee. But Democrats supporting Obama already are accusing Republicans of being obstructionists in the fight over the nomination and that could eventually force McConnell to at least allow consideration of a nominee even if Republicans ultimately defeat the choice.

    Possible names

    Some legal analysts say Obama could nominate one of two judges who have in recent years already have won unanimous Senate approval for their current seats, Sri Srinivasan, who would become the Supreme Court's first Indian-American, and Jane Kelly, both of whom now are appellate court judges.

    Several other names have been mentioned by legal experts as possibilities, including the country's current top law enforcement official, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and several other appellate court judges.

    Analysts say what is unknown is how Obama views the already contentious fight over his unnamed choice.

    They are debating whether the president's main goal would be to win approval for the nominee, someone at least a few Republican lawmakers might vote for. Or perhaps, the analysts say, his choice might be to pick a nominee more attuned to his left-of-center political views, who likely would be defeated even as the loss might energize Democratic voters in the presidential election and Senate contests around the country in an effort to overturn Republican control of the legislative chamber and hand it to the Democrats.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora