Former Senator weighs in on replacing Scalia - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Former Senator weighs in on replacing Scalia

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Friday was a day of mourning at the Supreme Court as thousands gathered to pay their respects to Justice Antonin Scalia.

Justice Scalia’s sudden death has many wondering who will become the new justice on the country’s highest court.

Former Senator Dennis DeConcini who voted to confirm Justice Scalia 30-years ago said Scalia was a conservative who was not afraid to speak his mind.

“He was a good guy. A wonderful guy,” said DeConcini.

But DeConcini also said Scalia had a softer side. “He had a sense of humor, and he tried, in my observation, tried not to appear that he was an intellectual superior.”

DeConcini, a Democrat from Arizona, was part of the unanimous Senate vote that confirmed Justice Scalia back in 1986. While he definitely did not agree with all of Scalia's decisions, he respected them.

DeConcini said when he was a regular in Washington, he and Scalia would get together socially a couple times a year.

He last saw him about two years ago.

“He was a regular guy. He loved to hunt and go fishing. He just had a good perspective of life,” said DeConcini.

When it comes to replacing Scalia, Deconcini said, “I think the constitution is very clear that the president's job is to nominate somebody. The Senate's job is to vote on it, but not necessarily confirm him but to vote on him.”

DeConcini believes if President Obama wants to pick a successful nominee it needs to be someone like Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. He is a Republican who is moderate on many social issues.

“In my political judgment, the only chance he has is if he can find a moderate republican that the Senate has approved before,” he said.

DeConcini said he will miss Justice Scalia’s companionship the most.

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