Ben Carson said Tuesday that the GOP presidential candidates would not be urging the Senate to refuse to confirm a replacement to Justice Antonin Scalia if there were a Republican in the White House right now.
During Saturday's Republican debate, which occurred just hours after Scalia's death, the candidates said the next president should be the one selecting the next Supreme Court justice even though President Obama has 11 months left in his term.
"Do you think the same six people on stage would say the same thing if there were a Republican president in the White House right now, for them to wait until the next president is selected?" Carson was asked on WRNN radio.
"No, they wouldn't," he said. "But then again, recognize that the two picks that the president has selected are ideologues, so there's really no reason to believe that his next pick wouldn't be an ideologue also."
He said the whole situation highlights the fact that "the Supreme Court has become a political tool."
"I think we need to relook at the whole Supreme Court issue because it has become something completely different than was intended," Carson said. He suggested one solution would be to implement term limits, because the average lifespan has increased dramatically since the court was envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
"Things have need to change. We need to change with them," he said.
In Saturday's debate, Carson was among the candidates who said that the Senate should not allow Mr. Obama to appoint the next justice.
"The Constitution actually doesn't address that particular situation. But the fact of the matter is, the Supreme Court obviously is a very important part of our-- governmental system," he said. "We should be thinking about how can we create some healing in this land. But right now, we're not gonna get healing with President Obama. That's very clear. So I fully agree that we should not allow a judge to be appointed during his time."
For the record, the Constitution says this of the powers vested with the president:
"He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States."
So, he has the power to name a replacement, but the Senate -- and Mitch McConnell -- have the advice and consent power to confirm, or not to confirm his nominee.