President Barack Obama is hosting Senate Republican leaders Tuesday to discuss his planned appointment to the Supreme Court.
The nine-member court has an opening following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month. But Republicans have said Obama should not make an appointment to the lifetime position in his final year in office, instead leaving that to whomever is the next president.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said ahead of the White House meeting they intend to reiterate that message.
Obama will be joined by fellow Democrats Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Patrick Leahy.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday the president is open to discussion, but that the Republican position «makes it hard for him to engage constructively.» He said the court is at risk of being «blatantly politicized.»
Obama has insisted it is his Constitutional duty to fill Scalia’s seat. Any nominee will have to be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Earnest said the president spent significant time last weekend reviewing materials on potential nominees, but that he is not yet working from a final list of candidates.