tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow CNN February 14, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm PST
thank you for watching. thank you for having me and letting me talk basketball. >> happy valentine's day. >> you too. the best moments on-line. thank you for watching. good afternoon. live pictures of the u.s. supreme court where the flag today is flying at half staff in honor of antonin scalia, the leader 0 of the court's conservative wing and intellectual power house. thank you for joining us. i'm jim sciutto in for poppy harlow. the shocking news of scalia's death set off a bitter political bat until this election year. on one side, senate republicans who say the next president should fill his vacancy on the other president obama who says the country cannot afford to wait a year.
although we have learned he will wait until after the senate returns from recess. >> i plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibility s to nominate a successor, in due time. there will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. >> fair hearing and timely vote. >> the battle became a talking point in the presidential debate last night. as you are about to see, things certainly got heated. >> i think it is up to mitch mcconnell and everybody to stop it. it is called delay, trdelay, delay. >> there's no doubt in my mind barack obama will not have a consensus picked when he submits that person to the senate. >> if the next president is going to appoint four supreme court justices, if donald trump is president he will appoint liberals. if donald trump is president,
your second amendment -- >> let me tell you. >> hold on, gentlemen, i'm going to turn the car around. >> ted cruz, with your brother wanted john roberts to be in the united states supreme court. they both pushed him. he twice approved obamacare. >> heated words and that's within the republican party, before you get republican versus democrat. we are covering every angle of the partisan showdown. joining me is supreme court reporter. when you look at the news paper head lines about ska lee that praises such as powerful voice, voice for conservativism. you covered him on the supreme court for years. you know this first hand. you get a sense of the hole he leaves behind on this court, particularly in the conservative wing. tell us what happens with the cases, just in the meantime,
while waiting for a replacement if we get that before the next election. what about with the crucial cases before the court right now? >> you are right. this is a monumental shift on the court and comes half way through this major turn. the supreme court is hearing controversial cases, abortion, affirmative action, the president's immigration actions. and what happens usually when now there is only eight members on the court, if there is a 4-4 split that means the lower court decision is upheld. in this case, for example, let me tell you about one big case, the public union. it is a challenge to public unions and it's come to the court. it's been argued. beforehand, the lower court ruled in favor of the union. but after oral arguments it seems like conservatives lead were poised to strike it down, reverse that decision. ifs it's going to be a 4-4 tie
that means it will be an unexpected victory for the union. they will be able to claim that lower court decision and that will be a victory. it could be different for two other cases, one having to do with abortion in the immigration case because thosed a conservative results. we are looking at these big cases that haven't been decided that could cause real confusion. the supreme court could say let's push it off and not make a decision now. the president bush with that is when would they be able to? when is this court going to have nine members again? >> that's a great point. by delaying this, republican-controlled senate, you imagine you keep the republican, conservative agenda but then cases that may go to the more liberal side. you have republicans who control the senate saying, let's wait until after the elections. you have the president saying listen this is my
responsibility. the senate should give a vote and that's their responsibility. is there any chance, at this this point, that the president can find a candidate for the supreme court, a nominee who will -- the senate will then allow a vote, a straight up or down vote or, or is the country so divide at this point, we have an election year that is hard to imagine? >> i think there's a chance, jim, a small chance. if you look at what senator mcconnell's majority leader said yesterday and chuck grassley the committee chairman, the committee that will oversee the nomination, both said the next president should nominate the next supreme court justice but did not say absolutely, no way, no how will there be a vote. there will not be a hearing in the judiciary committee. they are keeping it dry on that particular aspect of it. one reason, they want to see who the president nominates first. if there is a consensus nominee
and a lot of pressure, particularly from senate republicans working tough re-election -- big fight for control of the senate that could flip. if there are a lot of vulnerable republicans that are nervous about it, may change mcconnell's calculation and put a nominee on the plofloor and give them a vo. it is hard to see if someone could get the widespread support. even if there were some vulnerable republicans who wanted a vote on the senate floor they need to get 14 republicans to overcome likely filibuster on the floor. that's hard thing for obama and the democrats to achieve at this point. >> as divide as the country and this presidential race is it is hard to imagine a scenario, dhet of a supreme court justice that could set up a more divided line on the hill. thank you.
please stay there. we will bring you back. president obama promises he will nominate a replacement for justice scalia. if he does and successfully, it would be his third appointment to the bench after justices kagen and sotomayor. i want to bring in ben ferguson, host of the ben ferguson show. let me ask you this question, you are familiar with the republican position from the senate. when you look at history here, you will hear mcconnell saying this is an election yearinging wait until after the election. reagan nominated kennedy within a year of election, ford nominated stevens, nixon nominated rehnquist and powell. why is it different for president obama? >> i think a couple of different things. he will appoint one. it doesn't mean the house or senate will allow it to move forward at all. i think that's what you saw from mitch mcconnell saying you don't have the votes. you can compromise with us and
it would be obvious that barack obama will not compromise or we are willing to wait it out and see who the next president is and allow them to do this moving forward. an important seat on the supreme court. no doubt about that. when you lack at the republican. i don't think this in an election year where you have a new person taking over the white house, the president can nominate his person. it doesn't mean the senate will move on it. they will wait and delay. this will be an election year issue no doubt about it. >> i want you to listen what patrick leahy, the top ranking democrat on the senate said about the political cost if senate republicans refuse to consider the president's nominee. have a listen to what he said. >> if the republican leadership refuses to hold a hearing, i
think that it's going to guarantee they lose control of the senate. >> that's what you should hope for, right? >> an issue some republicans are concerned about. do you agree? this year is not as friendly of a year for senate republicans as the last cycle. is there any truth to this? >> if he believes that he should be thrilled about this possibility moving forward and congratulations to the democrats if they think it is that easy to win control of the senate. i don't see that. i think, if anything, it would be for -- if republicans do not put up a fight on this one they would be voted out of office because they did not fight for a supreme court justice spot and to see what will happen with this election. remember, republicans aren't saying we are not going to put someone on the court until a republican-backed white house. what they are saying is we want the next president, whoever it may be, to decide who the next person will be. that's a completely different than saying we're not going to
give anybody the supreme court for this year plus another four if hillary clinton or bernie sanders wins. they are saying the next president should decide. the democrats have a fair shot at winning the presidential election and for him to say that somehow this is political suicide for republicans running for election in the senate i would assume he would welcome that because he would have a higher position of power. >> let me play devil's advocate. this president won re-election in 2012, the year before he is replaced, and you have republican presidents who have nominated in the last year successfully. didn't the democrats get their shot at this? why wouldn't the president have the progressingtive to nominate someone and the senate not have the responsibility to at least do an up or down vote opposed to saying the filibuster has been laid out as a possibility. >> i will be candid and throw the politics in to this. this is going to be a political process. always has been. if you don't believe me, ask clarence thomas how political
the process can be. >> you have to vote, though. as divide as it was, he got a vote. >> dirty tricks were played to try to destroy him. if you remember, there were problems that came forward with some of george bush 43s nominees. this is political in nature. this is going to be. >> they got up or down votes. that's the difference, right? >> he had to withdrawal a name before the up or down vote. >> that goes backing to the reagan years. >> what i'm saying iswhenyou look at this process this is going to be one where both sides are trying to fight for an advantage on the supreme court. i think republicans can go to their constituents and can say i'm fighting for the next person to apoint the court. if i'm wrong and they are wrong, they are going to lose their seats at the senate level. that means democrats will
control the senate. i don't think that is happening. a lot of voters want to wait it out. and see who the next president of the united states of america is and let them decide whoit will be. this is a battle that democrats and republicans in situation, if it was a democrat they would be saying the same thing. if it is republican they would have done the same thing. this is where we are right now. i don't think there is a big problem. >> i want you to stick around. thank you for taking the hard questions. >> absolutely. >> when we come back, we will talk about the republican presidential race next and a fiery debate certainly last night. the audience bood and the candidates brawled a number of times. welcome to the new look of the republican field. >>
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technology entire countries w if they could ever catch you. thanks. ♪ [ male announcer ] fedex® has solutions to enable global commerce that can help your company grow steadily and quickly. great job. (mandarin) ♪ cut it out. >>see you tomorrow. ♪ . it was the most explosive republican presidential debate
yet. that's saying a lot. candidates insulted one another, a i called each other names an attacked family members. >> george bush made mistakes but that was a beauty. we should have never been in iraq. we destabilize the middle east. they lied. they said there were weapons of mass destruction. there were none and they knew there were none. there were no weapons of mass destruction. >> i'm sick and tired of him going after hi family. my dad is the greatest man alive in my mind while donald trump was building reality tv show my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe and i'm proud of what he did. >> ben, of many exchanges last night that caught my attention. he is hearing donald trump arguing against the bush legacy,
as george w. bush legacy, particularly on the iraq war. sounded like something you may hear in a general election debate from hillary clinton or bernie sanders. >> if you close your eyes it sounded like a democratic presidential debate between hillary clinton and bernie sanders insert donald trump and they would have all agreed with one another. i don't know the reasoning or the logic saying these things. here's the other interesting thing about donald trump last night when he got booed. what he was saying is basically implying he would have a foreign policy that would allow for these types of individuals to continue to be terrorists and stay in pow ir. it is an incredible monday morning quarterbacking. to attack george bush the way he did, especially going in to south carolina was a dumb political maneuver. >> let's be honest, monday morning, we are talking about a ten-year war that had enormous consequences. this is not monday
quarterbacking something insignificant. the fact is trump has been able to mobilize members -- we're not talking independents here, but members of the conservative base that feel the same way as about george bush's legacy. >> he has been able to do that. another example i say of the monday morn quarterback is all of a sudden donald trump is talking about how important the supreme court justice is and how we must have someone who is hard-core conservative. then he criticizes george bush for who he put on the court. during that time, he was supporting nancy pe low sis and harry reid in the tune to a six figure donation to re-elect democrats. he was supporting far worse people to be on the supreme court than what he is now criticizing jeb bush and others and also ted cruz saying john roberts and others that were put on the court were horrible judges. as he put it last night. but i would remind people he was giving money to democrats during
that same time that would have put people like barack obama on there. i don't understand the logic. donald trump seems to go on stage and attack whoever at that moment could be a threat to him and does it through attacking their family and saying everything they have done is incompetent and/or stupid and not a lot of people look at what he was for during the same period where real issues were brought before us. >> the fact the strategy has worked for him so far. let me ask about -- at least so far in the primary season. let's talk about this supreme court vacancy and how it may affect the election. until last night, the big question had been ruth bader ginsburg. thought this is one of those demonstrations of how important the election is. that could further direct the future of the court. now you have a leading conservative voice to be replaced by the next year or possibly after this election. on the republican side, how does
this change the direction of things there? does it play to ted cruz's advantage? he's got strong conservative credentials. >> if you are ted cruz you remind people and go out every day in south carolina, nevada, going in to the primary thafs fighting for conservatives while donald trump, who is main opponent right now was given six figures in 2006, 2005, 2004 to democrats to flip the senate and they would be in charge of the nominee. let's not be fooled by donald trump claiming he's a great conservative for justices on the supreme court. that's his biggest advantage i see in this election moving forward. bush and rubio need to remind people when they were in the actual fight and what they are criticized for now is the complete opposite of what donald trump is now saying. that's really probably the only
vulnerability where i think because of the supreme court argument, in the supreme court battle now, is the focal point where people will be willing to listen to their ideas without the noise of donald trump yelling at them. this may be their best opportunity to remind people of his record. there were so many hot moments in the debate last night. i want to play an exchange between rubio and cruz. it speaks for itself but i want your thoughts. take a listen. >> i don't know how he knows about what i said on univision because he doesn't speak spanish. >> this is a disturbing pattern, for a number of weeks he's been telling lies. he lied about ben carson in iowa, he lies about all sorts of things and the bottom line this is a campaign and people are watching and if they see the truth behind the issues. here's the truth, ted cruz supported legalizing people in
the country. and only now -- >> that is false. that is knowingly false. >> blistering attack on ted cruz from marco rubio. did he draw blood there? >> i don't think he did. i think he took a play book out of donald trump's play book which is call him a liar. marco rubio honestly knows his biggest liability is his gang of eight. he is trying to say ted cruz is almost as bad as i am on amnesty and i don't think that will work well for him. it is his biggest liability. this is probably the best play he can have moving forward. saying you are like i am so don't act like you are better on immigration issues. >> grade great to have your thoughts. it is the last debate before super tuesday. join wolf blitzer live from texas for the cnn republican presidential debate thursday, february 25th at 8:30 p.m. eastern here on cnn.
his ideological polar opposite on the bench. he and ruth bader ginsburg loved to wine and dine together. even taking vacations together. today she made a statement in part saying i was my great good fortune to know him as a working colleague and treasured friend. we have more on the unlikely friendship between two supreme court justices from opposite ends. >> why don't you call us the odd couple? >> reporter: justices antonin scalia and ruth bader ginsburg, two opposite mind. >> what's not to like except her views of the law? >> reporter: sharing a laugh about ginsburg's sleeping habits at the state of the union. >> the audience for the most part isn't awake because they are bobbing up and down all the
time. we sit there stone faced, sober judges. but we're not, at least i wasn't, 100% sober because before we went to the state of the union, we had dinner together. justice kennedy brought in -- >> that's the first intelligent thing you have done. >> so i got a call and i came home from one of my grand daughter's and he said, bubby, you were sleeping at the state of union. >> the sharp as a attack 81-year-old admitted she has had occasional help staying away from now retired justice david suitor. >> he had an acute sense of when i was about -- so he would give mae pinch. >> ginsburg, nicknamed notorious rbg and scalia known as nino.
he admired his pint sized partner taste for adventure. >> ruth, honest to goodness went up behind a motor boat. >> parasail. >> she's so light you would think she would never come down. >> their political differences, an elephant in the room, they aren't afraid to confront or ride as they did in india. >> that was a rather bumpy ride. >> some of her feminist friends gave me a hard time, or her a hard time because she rode behind me on the elephant. big deal. i'm not kidding. >> it was -- the driver explained it was a matter of distribution of weight. >> pamela brown, cnn, washington. >> great, unlikely friendship. marco rubio is making a strong claim about the supreme
court. rubio says it has been more than 80 years since a lame duck president nominated a supreme court justice. is rubio's statement true? our fact checker gives you the answer after this. actually be exactly what i am. i got to hang a picture. it may not seem like much, but to that resident it was the best thing in the world. it's amazing to me because it takes me seconds. but yet, when i go into the apartment, i'm there for half an hour. it is not just hanging a picture, it is conversing, it is being a friend. there aren't old people there. there are actually young people with old clothing on.
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not bad, kid. you remind me of a younger me. >>aiden! the dog is eating your retainer again. let's take a short 5-minute recess. fedex ground is faster to more locations than ups ground. we learned today that no autopsy will be performed on antonin scalia. he passed away from natural causes. sources say his family and the texas justice of the peace made the decision to forgo an autopsy. his body was taken to a funeral home in el paso, texas, today. he was known as a colorful man and iconic conservative justice. in an cnn interview, scalia explain how he viewed his role as a supreme court justice. let's have a listen. >> i sleep very well at night knowing that i am doing what i'm
supposed to do, which is to apply the constitution. i do not always like the result. very often i think the result is terrible. but that's not my job. i'm not king. >> some disagree with him but everyone respected him. news of his death hit the campaign trail like a earthquake. several candidates on the gop used last night's debate to demand the senate block anyone nominated by president obama. most candidates believe it is the next president who should nominate a justice instead. marco rubio claimed it had been 80 years since a lame duck president appointed a supreme court. is that accurate? tom foreman has the fact check. >> reporter: marco rubio made it clear he does not think that president obama should try to replace justice scalia because of presence dent. >> it has been over 80 years since a lame duck president has
appointed a supreme court justice. >> 80 years. let's look at the record here we know that franklin roosevelt appointed one at the end of his second term but got a third term. there were no term limits then. we know that lyndon johnson tried to do it in the '60s. he did not succeed and we know reagan named kennedy in '87. kennedy was approved in '88. that was the end of the reagan's presidency. were these lame duck appointments here? it depends how you define "lame duck." it is rare so we will say rubio's claim is mostly true. >> thank you very much tom foreman. our reality check. the next nominee for the supreme court has become one of rubio's lead talking points in the last 24 hours. listen to what he said on state of the union this morning. >> one name that has been floated for the supreme court for president obama to nominate
is district circuit court judge sri. you voted to confirm him f. president obama were to put forward his name why not support him since you have done it in the past? >> there's a different criteria. heightened level of scrutiny. i usually don't comment on nominees until they have gone through the process. the next president will have a chance to appoint someone. when i am president of the united states. i will look for someone like justice scalia. >> the republican candidate held a rally today. was he touting the same message there? is this central to his message as the pray maimary approaches. >> it took five minutes for him to get to the subject. it was one of his biggest applause lines. take a listen.
>> he talked about what kind of nominee you would be okay with. one name that has been floated -- >> i don't think the senate should confirm anyone that barack obama tries tie point in his office to a lifetime appointment. [ applause ] >> the next president of the president of the united states will fill that vacancy. >> jim, as you heard, the crowd eating that up. i think it's something that republican candidates marco rubio first among them recognized this is a major issue on the campaign trail and think amongst the republican base a winning issue for them. the expectation of talking to political operatives across the campaigns, this is an issue you will hear a lot about, especially in south carolina over the next five days before voters go to the polls for the primaries. >> all of the republican candidates will say the same thing, a republican president or the next president, not obama who gets to choose who gains the
advantage. it is easy for them to make the promise in south carolina for instance who are voters going to trust to be the one to fulfill that promise? >> i think you talk to different campaigns, a lot of people are pointing to ted cruz. he has a background in this area. he has a judicial background. he has a background in arguing in front of the supreme court, being a supreme court jchlts last night he made this a big issue on the debate stage and one he and his team people they can use to their advantage going foreer ward. i think what will be mosting to watch as this week plays out is if anyone can differentiate themselves. ted cruz thinks based on his career and record he can do that. all of the candidates so far have been saying the same thing, who can spin this to their advantage going forward? it is an interesting element. i have probably been to 30, 40, 50 town halls and one out of every four question about a
supreme court nominee or where a candidate stands on this would come up. this moves it straight up the ladder. no longer is an abstract issue but a real issue on this campaign and each candidate's team is trying to figure out how to use it to their advantage before voters come to the polls. >> until last night the issue was ruth bader ginsburg, issue of declining health and now antonin scalia another vacancy. listening to last night's debate, there was a level of vitriol, not new to the campaign. the number of accusations of he's a liar, he's a liar going back and forth. is in the beginning of a new stage in terms of that, particularly in south carolina? are we going to keep seeing this get amped up? >> i think it will go more in that direction than receding from it the next couple of days and probably the next couple of weeks. the reality is things are getting urgent for candidates.
candidates need to make moves. the idea aligning with one or a come of candidates and trying to keep the peace is no longer strategy. last night things got nasty and you will see it increase in the days and weeks ahead. >> fight club in the republican side. thank you very much for joining us from south carolina. with six days until the next votes are cast in south carolina, all six remaining republican candidates will be here on cnn for back-to-back town halls in south carolina. watch as they answer voters' questions with anderson cooper on wednesday and thursday night this week at 8 p.m. right here on cnn. coming up, another disease is linked to the dirty water in flint, michigan. on top of that one state supervisor says the deaths from the sickness could have been prevented but the feds were kept
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a cnn investigation showed how much the toxic water disaster in flint, michigan, was man made. as you know the choice not to use an anti-corrosive agent to treat the flint river led to the mass lead poisoning of people, including children, in flint. we learned the flint river maybe linked to one of the largest
outbreaks of an entirely different illness. legionnaires disease which can be fatal. an official said the state deliberately stopped the feds from looking in to the increase indge leon theirs. >> he measures his loss when he looks at his daughter. >> she's never going to have the opportunity. >> his mom died of legionnaires' disease in august after going to flint hospital for a migraine. >> still wasn't sure what was going on. just thinking, heat stroke, trying to wrap your head around it. what's going on? why is she sick? wasn't until that tuesday, i think that they said legionnaires. >> reporter: had you heard of it before? >> never heard of it. >> reporter: the outbreak one of
the the largest in u.s. history and began around the time the state switched the water source to the flint river and failed to properly treat the water. experts believe the corrosive water was giving the leonella bacteria a chance to flourish. people were dying. >> our team at the health department thought it is more than a coincidence these cases started to happen, these increase happened in the same time as the switch to the flint river as the water source. >> reporter: the cause may never be determined. state officials knew of the spike in cases but were worried about perception, as documented in this e-mail "there have been numerous complaints about the flint water. any announcement from public health about the quality of water would certainly inflame the situation." two months before debra died the state department of health
declared the outbreak over and declined to call in help from the centers for disease control saying they were able to meet the case investigation need in the county. >> i think it is a cover-up. i think it stinks. i think they knew more was going on than they wanted to let on. >> the state of michigan says it is investigating, saying it engaged to support the local health department in accordance with the law. they are now suing the state and hospital and he is not alone. connie taylor, also got sick after visiting mclaren er. she said that doctors never told her it was legionnaires' disease. >> they did not tell me that or my family that. >> reporter: it wasn't until she demanded the hospital turn over her medical records that she learned the truth. the hospital told cnn it acted in accordance with all statutory regulations and after discovering the outbreak it installed filters and secondary
water disinfectant system. taylor improved but her kidneys failed. now she is on dialysis and hoping for a kid nai transplant. >> who you bram? >> i blame them for the legionnaires. they should have announced it to people, made i public and then i blame our government for the water situation. it could have been prevented. >> sara, thank you. michigan governor asked for more federal dollars to help with flint's water crisis. he submitted an application to expand medicaid to those up to 21 and pregnant women who used flint's water system. that would add 15,000 more people to the 30,000 in the area who are already on medicaid. overseas president obama makes a call to russian president putin. next, what they talked about shortly after russia likened its relationship to the west to a
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humanitarian access and initiating a nationwide cessation of hostility. cnn's global affair's analyst joins me now. kimberly, the call comes after prime minister likened the relationship to a new cold war. so you have sharp disagreements over syria policy. in ukraine, you have labeling of a new cold war. what is president obama trying to do here with the call, pull the relationship from a brink perhaps? >> i think so. i think he's trying to tapp doup the rhetoric. we want to stable syria that doesn't fall into the hands of various different militant groups or out-and-out anarchy. the thing is, u.s. officials have made these comments before. and while both sides and other parties to the agreement have said they've agreed to a cessation of hostilities as
they're calling it by the end of this week, the rebel factions within syria are also publicly saying why should we stop fighting when russian jets continue to bomb us, and when the forces of assad are encircling. >> i was speaking to john kirby the other day, what is a cease-fire when several parties to do cease-fire. you have russian air strikes. i mean, i just wonder, the president's message, we both want the same things here, but is that actually true? russia wants assad to stay in power, the u.s. does not. is there any real meeting of the minds between u.s. and russia on syria. >> you put your finger right on it. they want different goals ultimately. assad just this past week said
he intends to take back all of syrian territory and it looks like on the ground, russia is it going to back them in doing that. it's the same sort of thing that it's the russian playbook out of ukraine have diplomacy at a high level, but continue to work with the forces that are pushing forward in taking territory from the other side. the last time you saw the u.s. and russia really work on something that worked was when they helped take the wmd, the chemical weapons away from assad and they did that when the u.s. was threatening the use of force. you don't have that now. i don't see that there is it really a lever to force russia to force assad to stop fighting. >> kimberly, great to have you on as always. coming up, supreme court antoni scalia never backed down from an argument on the bench. so it might be a surprise or no surprise that his death has
sparked what could be an epic battle in washington. a fight where the victor could control the fate of the court. that's right after this break. i think it landed last tuesday. one second it's there. then, woosh, it's gone. i swear i saw it swallow seven people. seven. i just wish one of those people could have been mrs. johnson. [dog bark] trust me, we're dealing with a higher intelligence here. ♪
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of the u.s. supreme court, where the sudden passing of antonin scalia has pushed it to the for front of this year's presidential race. i'm jim sciutto for poppy harlow. the supreme court legend died, inside the belt way quickly changed from shock and condolences to cold, hard politics. on one side, the republicans, they do not want president obama to nominate a replacement for the justice they believe a new justice hand picked by the president will swing the court and future opinions to the left. that scenario would be fine with democrats, fully aware scalia's absence four appointed by republican and four appointed by democrats. the new addition to the court will tip that balance. republicans believe if they win the presidency this year, they will name a supreme court justice next