President Obama made it clear on Tuesday that he intends to nominate an "indisputably qualified" candidate to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
"The constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now," Obama told reporters at Rancho Mirage California, where leaders of Southeast Asian nations wrapped up a summit on regional security issues.
"This is the Supreme Court," Obama said. "We have to ask ourselves as a society a fundamental question: Are are able to still make this democracy work the way it's supposed to."
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The president said this does not mean he will try to push a moderate nominee in order get his candidate confirmed. Obama scoffed at the argument by some Republican lawmakers and candidates, including Ted Cruz, that the president should not nominate a justice in his last year in office.
"I would challenge anyone who purports to me adhering to the original intent of the founders, anybody who believes in the constitution coming up with a plausible rational as to why they would not even have a hearing for a nominee," he said, adding, "it's pretty hard to find that in the constitution."
Obama blamed both parties for the practice of holding up nominees.
"The fact that it's that hard that we're even discussing this is I think a measure of how unfortunately venue and rancor in Washington."
Asked whether he bares any responsibility for the voter frustration that brought about the rise of harsh rhetoric by GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, he said Trump wasn't the only one to blame.
"Foreign observers are troubled by some of the rhetoric taking place" in these debates, he said.
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