Reid: Obama should send Supreme Court nominee 'right away'
© Cameron Lancaster

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems search for winning playbook Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response The Memo: Immigration battle tests activists’ muscle MORE (D-Nev.) is calling on President Obama to make a nomination to the Supreme Court "right away" following the death Saturday of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The President can and should send the Senate a nominee right away. With so many important issues pending before the Supreme Court, the Senate has a responsibility to fill vacancies as soon as possible," Reid said.

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"It would be unprecedented in recent history for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacant seat. Failing to fill this vacancy would be a shameful abdication of one of the Senate's most essential Constitutional responsibilities.”

But Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) has already said Obama should not be allowed to fill the vacancy.

"The American people‎ should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice," McConnell said in a statement. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

The question of whether Obama should be allowed to fill the Supreme Court seat in the final year of his presidency is certain to be a matter of fierce debate in the coming days.

Reid's office noted that Supreme Court nominees have on average taken 67 days to be confirmed since the Gerald Ford administration. Obama has nearly a full year left in office.