Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellSenate braces for fallout over Supreme Court fight Republicans seek to lower odds of a shutdown GOP torn over what to do next MORE (R-Ky.) said Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia should not be replaced until after the presidential election.
Because McConnell sets the Senate schedule, and the upper chamber confirms Supreme Court nominations, his remarks signal the GOP's intent to not confirm any nominee offered by President Obama.
Democrats have already called on the Senate to take a vote on a nominee replacing Scalia, who died Saturday in Texas.
Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidRepublican failure Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral Top GOP senator: 'Tragic mistake' if Democrats try to block Gorsuch MORE (D-Nev.) said it would be "unprecedented" for the Senate to wait until next year to confirm a new justice.
He added that it would be a "shameful abdication" of the Senate's responsibility.
Here is McConnell's full statement:
"Today our country lost an unwavering champion of a timeless document that unites each of us as Americans.
"Justice Scalia's fidelity to the Constitution was rivaled only by the love of his family: his wife Maureen his nine children, and his many grandchildren. Through the sheer force of his intellect and his legendary wit, this giant of American jurisprudence almost singlehandedly revived an approach to constitutional interpretation that prioritized the text and original meaning of the Constitution.
"Elaine and I send our deepest condolences to the entire Scalia family.
"The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”