With the White House narrowing its list of potential Supreme Court nominees, the Republican Party has kicked off a campaign to block the selection made by President Barack Obama. A task force inside of the Republican National Committee (RNC) is planning a full-on media attack with ads and petitions urging that the next president — which it hopes is a Republican — should select the justice who will take on the seat left vacant Feb. 13 after Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the Associated Press reported Monday.
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus said the RNC is ensuring that “Democrats have to answer to the American people for why they don’t want voters to have a say in this process.” Both parties are preparing for an unprecedented, likely long, battle over who will fill the empty seat on the Supreme Court.
The RNC has said it will team up with the group American Rising Squared in its effort to derail Obama’s nominee choice during an election year. The group is run by an aide to Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the AP reported.
Leaks from unnamed White House sources have suggested Obama could make his pick for a nominee early this week. A source close to the process told Reuters Friday that three short list comprises the names of three federal appeals court judges: Sri Srinivasan, Merrick Garland and Paul Watford. If Srinivasan is selected as the nominee, he would be the first Indian-American and first Hindu ever chosen.
With Republicans digging in, saying they will not allow confirmation hearings or a vote, the selection process is likely to become a protracted fight with former Obama aides coming out to support the Democratic effort to sway public opinion.
The GOP strategy will also target Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as tight election races across the country with advertisements going after Democratic senate candidates in Colorado, Ohio and New Hampshire, making the case that Obama should not get to pick a justice that could change the court’s ideological direction after Scalia’s death.