Flake: Keep Scalia's seat vacant until next year
© Greg Nash

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSen. Coons examines Amazon's privacy and data security practices for Alexa devices Oil companies join blitz for carbon tax The Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget MORE (R-Ariz.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, is backing a strategy to keep Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's seat vacant until next year.

"One would have to go back more than a century to find a scenario where a president’s nominee for the Supreme Court was confirmed by the opposition party in the Senate when the vacancy occurred during an election year," the Arizona Republican said in a statement. 
 
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Flake is one of the final Republican members of the Judiciary Committee to weigh in on what to do about the vacancy. 
 
He added Monday that he was not "about to break new ground in the Senate, particularly when any nominee could so drastically shift the balance of the court.”
 
While Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was confirmed during 1988 — an election year — Republicans suggest his case is different because he was nominated in 1987. They also point to statements from top Democrats under President George W. Bush suggesting the Senate should not confirm additional Supreme Court nominees during his second term.
 
Republicans have largely rallied around Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval MORE's push to let the next president select Scalia's successor, but there have been signs of division among GOP senators and among the Judiciary Committee. 
 
Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkEx-GOP Sen. Kirk registers to lobby The global reality behind 'local' problems Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year MORE (R-Ill.), who is not a member of the committee, on Monday backed giving Obama's nominee a hearing a vote.
 
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), a member of the committee, warned that Republicans risked being seen as "obstructionist" if they pledge to block any Supreme Court nominee without knowing who the president will nominate. 
 
Democrats would need support from Republican lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee to get a committee vote for anyone Obama nominates and to get the nomination to the floor of the Senate.