Ryan backs McConnell strategy to block Obama's Supreme Court pick

Story highlights

  • "The President has absolutely every right to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, but Congress as an equal branch also has every right not to confirm someone," Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Ryan said Senate Republicans are "justified" in not holding a vote on a replacement put forth by President Barack Obama

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan backs Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy to block any nomination by President Barack Obama to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court after the sudden death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

"The Supreme Court is not an extension of the White House. The President has absolutely every right to nominate someone to the Supreme Court, but Congress as an equal branch also has every right not to confirm someone," Ryan told his hometown paper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Ryan said Senate Republicans are "justified" in not holding a vote on a replacement put forth by President Barack Obama, pointing to the presidential campaign.
Shortly after the news of Scalia's death broke over the weekend, McConnell released a statement saying the "vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President." Democrats immediately decried the move and called for a debate and a vote on the President's pick.
Ryan told the Journal Sentinel that if the situation was reversed, Democrats would do the same thing, but he admitted both parties stress their position depending on who holds the White House.
"I think everyone is going to make spin that benefits their side. I think it's pretty obvious," Ryan said.
As House speaker, Ryan also is responsible for presiding over the party's political convention in July, so he continues to resist attempts to weigh in on the divisive contest among Republicans to win the GOP nomination, saying it's important for him to maintain neutrality.
But in his interview with the Journal Sentinel, Ryan acknowledged that "there could arise a situation where it's more than just a ceremonial position."
And while he typically brushes off questions about the possibility of a brokered convention, and the scenario floated by some Republicans that he could emerge as a consensus candidate, Ryan told the paper he would need to consider that "sooner or later."
"I'm told about this. I keep thinking to myself, 'Yeah, I better figure out what exactly that means," Ryan said.