Congressman Darin LaHood held an open house in his downtown Jacksonville office yesterday.
We asked LaHood if he had any thoughts on the replacement process for recently-deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, just hours after Scalia’s passing over the weekend, was reported as saying the Senate should not confirm a replacement for Supreme Court until after a new president is elected.
LaHood said his thoughts and prayers go to the family of Justice Scalia, and added he leaves a tremendous void with the Court. He added:
“Obviously, the Senate has the ability to advise and consent. That’s [their] role. And clearly, I think they need to look to what the people want. I think the President’s going to put forth his nominee, and I think the Senate clearly has the constitutional decision to make if they advise and consent whether to go forward with that. But, this is a much different dynamic than we’ve ever had before. The country’s divided, it’s a 4-4 split. And I think having an election and letting the new president decide is the best route to take,” says LaHood.
“If the advice and consent the senators hear is that the American people want the election to decide the next Supreme Court justice, then that’s what I think we should do. And I’m reminded that Chuck Schumer, the new Democratic leader, said at the end of one of [George W.] Bush’s terms, we shouldn’t vote on any of George Bush’s Supreme Court nominees until the next election. I think that’s the sentiment that I hear when I talk to people traveling around my district,” he continues.
McConnell, along with every other Republican senator in a Democratically-controlled Senate, voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in Ronald Reagan’s final year of presidency.
Barrack Obama is in his final year of presidency and has gotten two other justices to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
Nearly 100 people showed up for yesterday’s open house. You can hear raw audio of the Congressman addressing those in attendance, plus more of our interview with him, below: