Bush says Senate should reject an Obama Supreme Court nominee

Story highlights

  • Jeb Bush appeared on CNN's State of the Union after the GOP debate in South Carolina
  • He weighed in on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Donald Trump

(CNN)Jeb Bush said he fully expects President Barack Obama to send a Supreme Court nominee to the Senate. And he expects the Senate to reject that nominee.

"That's his prerogative, he has every right to do it," Bush told CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union" about Obama's power to nominate a replacement for the conservative justice. "The Senate has every right not to confirm that person ... Given his choices of Supreme Court justices in the past, the Senate of the United States should not confirm someone who is out of the mainstream."
Bush stopped short of saying Republicans should use procedural maneuvers to block an Obama nominee.
    "It's up to Mitch McConnell. It is not important to me," Bush said, referring to the Senate majority leader, who schedules votes.
    McConnell said Saturday in a statement he feels the next president, not Obama, should pick a replacement for Scalia. But it would be an unprecedented wait to go 11 months without votes on a successor.
    Bush is acutely aware of the consequences of a Supreme Court nomination. His father, former President George H.W. Bush nominated David Souter, who was considered increasingly liberal during his years on the court. And Bush's brother, former President George W. Bush nominated John Roberts, who has come under fire from conservatives for twice upholding Obama's health care law.
    Jeb Bush admitted Souter was a bad choice for conservatives, but he defended Roberts.
    "The Souter choice was unfortunate. He wandered off into the liberal camp for sure," Bush said. "John Roberts can be a defended choice for sure because (the) Obamacare decision I was disappointed in, but he has made some really good rulings beyond that."
    Bush praised Scalia for his conservative consistency and said a president needs to pick someone whose track record is clear.
    "The lesson learned is that you pick someone who's proven, long standing, record, a history you can point to. When he wasn't considered or when she wasn't considered for a nomination for the Supreme Court. When he or she was doing their work and the consistency is what mattered. That's the Scalia approach. He was very consistent on his interpretation and his rulings. And that's what we need," he said.