Bitter debate over nominating Scalia replacement

Posted at 3:22 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 21:15:38-05

Just two days after the death of Antonin Scalia, the Republicans and Democrats are raging in a debate about who has the right to pick Justice Scalia's successor.


Both parties have used recent rallies and interviews to voice their opinions on the matter.


"We should not allow a lame duck president to essentially capture the Supreme Court in the waning months of his presidency," said Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.


"We ought to make the 2016 election a referendum on the Supreme Court."


Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders disagreed.


"The constitution is pretty clear. It is the job of the president of the United States to appoint, nominate members to the Supreme Court and the Senate confirms."


In Bakersfield, flags were at half-staff to honor Scalia and his nearly 30 years of service in the Supreme Court.


Bakersfield conservative attorney and political insider Brandon Martin gave 23ABC this statement about the passing of Scalia:


"I've considered Justice Scalia a national treasure since I began reading his most memorable dissents years ago as a young conservative law student trapped in what sometimes seemed like enemy territory in Berkeley.  


Welcoming Scalia to any debate on statutory or constitutional interpretation was the intellectual equivalent of welcoming the NBA's Charles Barkley in his prime to play on your team in a neighborhood pickup basketball game with your buddies.  


Scalia’s mental agility, razor-sharp wit, and pugnacious attitude made him a truly special figure not just as a Supreme Court Justice, but as the leading conservative legal intellectual of his time.  I didn't always agree with him, but I've cheered for him consistently for over a decade.  


During that time, his 'originalism' has gone from being a topic of lawyerly debate to being a shorthand catchphrase frequently used by Presidential candidates to describe what it means to love the Constitution.  


It is almost impossible for me to imagine someone filling his shoes or equaling his contribution as a Supreme Court justice and as a conservative intellectual."