In a new poll released Monday, a majority of Americans, 56 percent, believe it is President Obama’s right to nominate a candidate to fill the recently vacant seat on the Supreme Court since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last week.
According to the same poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, 38 percent say the Senate should hold off until the next president is sworn into office in Jan. 2017.
A fierce political battle is underway between Congressional Democrats and Republicans over whether President Obama should present the Senate with a nominee, with even the 2016 presidential candidates weighing in on replacing the former more conservative justice.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders say that Obama has the constitutional authority to send a nomination to the Hill, while leading Republican Donald Trump asserts the Senate should “delay, delay, delay” the nominee until the next president is sworn into office.
Within hours of the news on Feb. 13 of Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted that the next president should be the one to fill the seat, leaving a possible 4-4 split on cases over the next eleven months.
Over the last week, McConnell has taken an even more aggressive stance, insisting that no hearings will be scheduled in the deciding chamber over any presented nominee from Obama. However, the White House has consistently said that the president intends to announce a nominee in the coming weeks.
The poll was conducted Feb. 18-21 among 1,002 adults.