Obama pledges to push ahead with Supreme Court nominee

President Obama Details Ideal SCOTUS Nominee

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to move ahead with a Supreme Court justice nominee despite defiance from Senate Republicans, saying he will pick someone with an "independent mind" who understands how laws affect people's lives.

In a guest post on the independent scotusblog.com, Obama outlined the top qualities he is looking for in a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia, who died earlier this month. Obama gave no timeline for making his selection.

RELATED: Possible choices for the Supreme Court seat:

Potential replacements for Justice Scalia, SCOTUS
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Obama pledges to push ahead with Supreme Court nominee

Sri Srinivasan, Federal appeals court judge

(United States Department of Justice)

District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

(Photo via the United States District Court for the District of Columbia)

Loretta Lynch, the current U.S. Attorney General. 

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Paul Watford, currently a U.S. circuit judge for the Ninth Circuit.

(Photo by Bill Clark/Getty Images)

Jacquline Nguyen, the first Vietnamese American woman named to the state court in California.

(Photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


He said his choice "will be eminently qualified" and have a mastery of the law to give clear answers to complicated legal questions. Additionally, "the person I appoint will be someone who recognizes the limits of the judiciary's role; who understands that a judge's job is to interpret the law, not make the law," he said.

Obama said he also wants a nominee who has the life experience to understand that law is not abstract legal theory but "affects the daily reality of people's lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times."

The Senate must confirm any nominee from Obama, a Democrat, but Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed not to allow the chamber to consider any nominee during the president's last year in office.

The death of Scalia, a conservative stalwart, left the court with an 4-4 ideological split as it moves to complete the remainder of its term. The court still could have open seat when its next session starts in October.

RELATED: Antonin Scalia through the years:

Antonin Scalia
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Obama pledges to push ahead with Supreme Court nominee
WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 21: United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (R) arrives at the American Enterprise Institue February 21, 2006 in Washington, DC. Justice Scalia delivered the keynote address about foreign law and the debate about how it is used in American Law during the seminar called 'Outsourcing Of American Law.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 10: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia walks October 10, 2005 in the annual Columbus Day Parade in New York City. This is the 61st Columbus Parade which celebrates both the explorer and Italian cultural influence on America. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 29: U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia addresses the Philadelphia Bar Association during a luncheon April 29, 2004 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Scalia presented the first Antonin Scalia Award to Philadelphia lawyer and former American Bar President Jerome J. Shestack. Scalia is the third U.S. Supreme Court Justice to Address the Philadelphia Bar Association members in less than a year. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (L) attends inaugural ceremonies 20 January 2w005 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. US President George W. Bush was sworn in for a second term in a solemn ceremony held under unprecedented security on the steps of the US Capitol. (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A.CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
ANN ARBOR, MI - JANUARY 25: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at the fifth annual Ava Maria School of Law lecture January 25, 2005 on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Scalia talked about religion and U.S. Constitution. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
384802 07: (FILE PHOTO) This undated file photo shows Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC. (Photo by Liaison)
382727 01: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia talks with opera star Placido Domingo at a gala opening night dinner following a Washington Opera performance Oct 21, 2000 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Karin Cooper/Liaison)
382727 17: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia looks at a painting during an opening at the National Gallery of Art September 27, 2000 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Karin Cooper/Liaison)
371151 07: Louis Freeh, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, left, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia applaud during the Mass of Installation for Archbishop Edward Egan June 19, 2000 at St. Patrick''s Cathedral in New York. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Newsmakers)
382727 05: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia attends a National Gallery of Art opening ceremony September 27, 2000 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Karin Cooper/Liaison)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 29: (L-R) Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Jason Binn, and Charles Merinoff inside the Correspondent's After Party hosted by Capitol File Magazine on April 29, 2006 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images)

Obama, who has placed two justices on the high court bench during his seven years in office, wrote that he would "fulfill my constitutional duty to appoint a judge to our highest court" and urged the Republican-led Senate to also fulfill its responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution.

"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," he wrote.

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