Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said the sudden death of his conservative colleague Antonin Scalia came as a "great shock to us" on the court but that "we will deal with" the vacancy on the nation's high court, according to CNN.
In Tuesday's discussion at Georgetown University Law Center, Alito sidestepped the current brouhaha over whether the Senate should give consideration to any new Supreme Court justice President Obama may nominate in the final year of his presidency. But Alito did note that the remaining eight justices don't get a say in deciding joins them on the bench.
"We don't choose our colleagues," said Alito when asked what kind of candidate the justice would like to see fill Scalia's seat. "The presidents choose the justices and the judges and the Senate confirms them. I have enough trouble with the questions that I have to decide."
Alito's remarks came less than a week after Georgetown, where Scalia received his undergraduate degree, became the subject of a controversy following a series of faculty emails sent to the entire student body in the wake of Scalia's February 13 death.
The following day, President Obama penned a guest post at SCOTUSblog, explaining that nominating a new Supreme Court Justice is "a responsibility I take seriously." In that piece, the president outlined three primary characteristics he is seeking in the ideal candidate to place before the Senate for confirmation:
"A sterling record. A deep respect for the judiciary’s role. An understanding of the way the world really works. That’s what I’m considering as I fulfill my constitutional duty to appoint a judge to our highest court. And as Senators prepare to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to consider the person I appoint, I hope they’ll move quickly to debate and then confirm this nominee so that the Court can continue to serve the American people at full strength."
Of course, that hope may be dwindling, as Senate Republicans have already announced their plan to refuse to consider any judicial candidate the president might nominate — even before Obama started hinting at names that may be on his shortlist (like Nevada's Republican governor, Brian Sandoval).
That refusal from Senate Republicans is the target of a new video from progressive organization MoveOn.org Civic Action, using the words of the late President Ronald Reagan to condemn the latest round of Obama-era Republican obstructionism.
Watch what MoveOn calls its "devastating TV ad holding Republicans accountable" below.