- The Washington Times - Monday, February 15, 2016

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Monday that President Obama doesn’t deserve “deference” on a Supreme Court pick and should be stopped from making an appointment to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia, as the GOP presidential candidate continued to clarify his stance on the issue.

“I am taking a position. If there is an up-or-down vote, it should be rejected based on the history of how President Obama selects judges,” Mr. Bush said on NBC’s “Today” program.

But he said that he didn’t care whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denies a vote on Mr. Obama’s nominee, or Mr. Obama’s pick gets rejected on the Senate floor.

“It’s up to Mitch McConnell in the Senate. I’m not a senator. I’m not running for the United States Senate. If he’s going to take that path, I respect that completely,” Mr. Bush said. “What shouldn’t happen in a election year, a president in a very divisive kind of time, should nominate and have it be passed. There shouldn’t be deference.”

Mr. Scalia’s unexpected death Saturday put a Supreme Court nomination fight front and center of the presidential campaign, with the selection of the next justice potentially tilting the ideological makeup of the high court.

Some of Mr. Bush’s rivals for the GOP nomination have taken a hardline stance that the Senate should stonewall a nominee by the lame-duck president, as Mr. McConnell has promised.

In a candidate’s debate Saturday, Mr. Bush said he was an “Article II guy in the Constitution” that gives Mr. Obama the power to nominate and the Senate the role of consent and advise.

The next day on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. Bush said that it’s “really not important to me” whether there’s a vote before the next president takes office in 2017. But he said Mr. Obama shouldn’t be allowed to appoint someone out of the “mainstream.”

Mr. Bush further clarified his stand on the NBC show.

“The Senate, based on its rules, has the right to carry out those rules. And my point is, irrespective of that, there should not be an appointment based on President Obama’s record of selection of judges,” he said. “They are way out of the mainstream, and this should be an important point that we have in the election. I’m more than happy to litigate that, although I”m not a lawyer, I’m happy to litigate the constitutionality of this case.”

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