Hawaii politicians bracing for fight in Scalia replacement process

Hawaii politicians bracing for fight in Scalia replacement process

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The process to replace late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be "pure political gamesmanship," predicts Hawaii News Now political analyst Colin Moore.

"In the hyper-partisan world we live in there's really only room to make this a campaign issue," Moore said. "So that's what we're going to see. This will take what has been an already contentious campaign and make it that much more ugly I think."

Scalia, 79, died Saturday in Texas of natural causes.

It didn't take long for the salvos over picking his replacement to start flying nationally.

"It's up to Mitch McConnell and everybody else to stop it, it's called delay, delay, delay," Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in the Republican debate Saturday.

Democrat Hillary Clinton countered, "It is outrageous that Republicans in the Senate and on the campaign trail have already pledged to block any replacement."

Hawaii's Democratic Senators are towing the party line.

Of the push-back from Republicans over Obama picking Scalia's replacement in an election year, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said, "This is pretty outrageous. This is a true power play. There's no precedent for this."

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) agreed, "I am appalled that the Republicans have chosen to politicize yet another issue."

Both Schatz and Hirono expect a battle on Capitol Hill, but are hopeful a non-controversial nominee will get confirmed.

"At the end of the day, I would want to read that justice's opinion and not be able to tell whether that person is ideologically a Democrat or Republican," Hirono said.

While Republicans control the majority in the Senate, Moore thinks it's the president who has the leverage.

"His tactic will be to embarrass the Republicans into confirming this person," he said.

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