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Nevada Senator, Harry Reid, speaks at UNLV on Feb 16, 2016.
Nevada Senator, Harry Reid, speaks at UNLV on Feb 16, 2016.

Sen. Harry Reid reflects on Republican opposition to nominate new Supreme Court justice

By Jacob Lasky
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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not shied away from shaming Republican leaders who want to stop President Obama from nominating a new Supreme Court justice.

In a  press conference at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Feb. 16, Reid sharply criticized Republicans.

“If these people carry around their little Constitutions, tell them [to] look at it sometime,” said Reid. “And if they’re going to follow the constitution, President Obama was elected for four years this last time, not three years.”

Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13 after serving over 30 years in the Supreme Court.

Despite Republican opposition, Obama has vowed to nominate a replacement for Scalia.

The nomination of Supreme Court justices has always been a duty granted to the president.

However, a vast number of Senate Republicans have threatened to block any nominee designated by the president due to the nearing presidential election in November.

Reid feels that Republicans would respond much differently to the nomination of a new justice if a Republican was currently president.

“When we had a Republican president we didn’t do that,” said Reid.

Reid also claimed that Democrats did not filibuster the Republican nominations of Scalia, Anthony Kennedy or Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

The Nevada senator believes that Scalia’s successor should be diversified in professional experience.

Notably, Reid thinks that some of the best justices to have served in the Supreme Court did not resemble traditional characteristics of justices.

“Some of our best Supreme Court justices have been people who were not judges before they became Supreme Court justices,” said Reid.

So far, Reid has refrained from endorsing a Democratic presidential candidate.

The senator still offered some criticism against one of the candidates though.

“ I love Bernie Sanders, …but let’s be realistic; there’s not going to be free college for awhile,” said Reid.

He emphasized that the bigger issue affecting students is student debt.

“The largest debt of anything in America is not credit cards, it’s student debt,” said Reid. “It’s really damaged our ability to have a more productive society.”

Reid suggested that more focus needs to be on the student loan interest and Pell Grants.

The senator also feels that the issue of addressing student debt would be slowed down if a Republican candidate were to win office.

“Two [of the] leading candidates for president of the United States [are] Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, gee whiz,” said Reid. “That says it all.”

One UNLV student who attended the news conference felt Reid showed a sense of truthfulness in his remarks against Republican officials.

“I appreciated that he was honest during the news conference, especially toward the Republican candidates,” said 21-year-old  Ariana Erin DeCastro.

Reid also suggested that he believes recently arrested Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons belong in jail.

“We should keep him and his sons in jail for a long, long, long time,” said Reid.

Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan were indicted by a federal grand jury on numerous charges related to their standoff with the federal government in 2014.

After serving over 30 years in the Senate, the 76-year-old Senate leader will be retiring next year at the end of his current term.

Democratic Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto is seeking to replace Reid in the next election.

Reid has endorsed her run for the Senate.

“I think she’s well qualified,” said Reid. “ I know the Senate…and she’ll fit in really well there.”

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