- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas’ Republican U.S. senators said Wednesday they believe President Barack Obama should not choose a replacement for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and should instead leave the decision to the next president.

Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton issued statements joining their party’s leadership in opposing the president naming a replacement for Scalia, who died Saturday in Texas. Obama has challenged Republicans to live up to their avowed adherence to the Constitution and agree to vote on his eventual nominee.

“After carefully considering the constituent feedback I have received, it is clear that Arkansans overwhelmingly want a say in choosing Justice Scalia’s replacement through the presidential election,” Boozman said. “Arkansans want the Senate to wait until the next president is sworn in and I intend to adhere to their wishes.”

Cotton also said he didn’t believe a nominee should be named in a presidential election year.

“The choice of Justice Scalia’s successor should not belong to a lame-duck president, whose mandate is stale, and whose disregard for the constitutional constraints on his office are well known,” Cotton said. “The choice should belong to the American people.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Democrat hoping to unseat Boozman this fall said the Senate should fulfill its duty and consider the president’s nominee.

“Not filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court because of partisan politics is just another example of what’s wrong with Washington,” former federal prosecutor Conner Eldridge, the only Democrat running for Boozman’s seat, said in a statement issued by his campaign. “Leaders in both parties should work together, put country over party, and do their job. End of story.”

North Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman, who’s mounting a long-shot challenge to Boozman in the March 1 Republican primary, has also said he opposes Obama filling the vacancy.

“I will be praying that the Republican members of the US Senate find the courage necessary to block any attempted appointments by President Obama until the next president is sworn in,” Coleman said in a statement hours after Scalia’s death.

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Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo

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