The lag time was vanishingly short.
In a statement from the Supreme Court posted to the New York Times website at 5:56 p.m. ET Saturday evening, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed what the world by then had gathered from news reports. The conservative firebrand and progressive nemesis Antonin Scalia was dead.
Less than an hour later, at 6:26 p.m. ET, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stunned the political world with a statement declaring President Obama should not fulfill his constitutional duty and appoint a replacement to the highest court in the land.
"The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice," McConnell said in a statement. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”
McConnell's statement had been preceded a short time earlier by similar sentiment from the Republican presidential contender, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who had commented on Twitter that "Justice Scalia was an American hero. We owe it to him, & the Nation, for the Senate to ensure that the next President names his replacement."
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