Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio responded Saturday to the passing of pro-life Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and said the next president should pick Justice Scalia’s replacement, not Barack Obama.
Scalia was found dead at the age of 79 earlier in the day. Scalia is one of the minority of judges on the nation’s highest court who is pro-life and supports overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.
“Today, our nation has suffered a deep loss,” Rubio said in a statement LifeNews received. “Justice Scalia was one of the most consequential Americans in our history and a brilliant legal mind who served with only one objective: to interpret and defend the Constitution as written.”
Rubio remembered a visit to the Supreme Court to defend religious freedom rights as he attended the oral arguments during the Town of Greece v. Galloway decision.
“I will hold that memory forever,” he said.
Rubio sid the next president should be the one to nominate a Supreme Court justice similar to Scalia, who supported overturning Roe v. Wade..
“The next president must nominate a justice who will continue Justice Scalia’s unwavering belief in the founding principles that we hold dear,” he said. “Jeanette and I mourn the loss of Justice Scalia, and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maureen and his family.”
Last year, Rubio talked about the importance of judges.
The pro-life Senator from Florida told David Brody of CBN News that appointing new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court will be “one of the biggest things the next president is going to do.” Rubio said the country needs justices who will put aside their personal feelings about an issue and rule fairly on the Constitution.
“And there is no way that you can read the Constitution and deduce from it that there is constitutional right to an abortion …” Rubio said. “So you need judges that understand how constitutionally flawed that those … rulings and others have been …”
He also said he was concerned about the government compelling people to violate their consciences and their faith.
“[I want to] ensure that we’re not doing anything that at any part in our government that is putting organizations that are motivated by their faith or organized around their faith from having to violate the tenants of their faith and that includes government contractors,” Rubio said. “There are many government contractors and small companies who provide services to the government who are faith-based people, and they are being compelled to sin by government in their business conduct. That is not something we should be supporting.”
Scalia frequently talked about his views on abortion and the high court case that allowed for unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason.
“You want a right to abortion? There’s nothing in the Constitution about that. But that doesn’t mean you cannot prohibit it,” he said in an interview previously with California Lawyer.
For those wanting to make abortion legal, “Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”
Scalia often reiterated his position that the Constitution’s 14th Amendment doesn’t guarantee equal protection for women in a way that could be construed as allowing abortion on demand.
Scalia told the California Lawyer publication that, while the amendment doesn’t offer equal protection for women, state legislatures are free to legislate such protections. He said the amendment, when it was adopted, was not intended to offer legal protection for women. Abortion advocates have used it to constitutionally justify legal abortions.
“Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex,” Scalia said. “The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that.”
“If indeed the current society has come to different views, that’s fine. You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society,” he said. “If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws. You don’t need a constitution to keep things up-to-date. All you need is a legislature and a ballot box.”
Scalia was considered to be one of the four justices most likely to support overturning Roe if a case reached the high court. Justice Clarence Thomas has also publicly expressed his desire to overturn the 1973 decision.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito have already issued one abortion opinion overturning a previous Supreme Court decision allowing partial-birth abortions and overturning a partial-birth abortion ban claiming it required a health exception. Their decision to reverse and affirm Congress’ findings that abortion is never necessary to protect women’s health is seen as an indication they may be willing to overturn Roe as well.
Together, the four comprise a minority of four justices compared with the pro-abortion majority for Roe, which includes Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has gone along with limits on abortion but has not shown any indication he would side with those favoring overturning Roe.