The death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia last week sparked an intense debate between Republicans and Democrats over whether Obama, a Democrat, should nominate Scalia's replacement before he leaves office, or whether the seat should be left open
until a new president takes office in January.
Concerned that any appointee Obama selects would tip the nine-justice court in liberals' favor, Republicans in the US Congress and on the presidential campaign trail have said that the replacement should be chosen by the next president.
The White House has said that Obama intends to do as the US Constitution requires and "move promptly" to nominate a successor. The nominee must be confirmed by the US Senate.

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