March 1, 2016 / 6:33 PM / 4 years ago

Obama asked Republican leaders to offer top court nominee: White House

U.S. President Barack Obama (3rd R) meets with the bipartisan leaders of the Senate to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, at the White House in Washington March 1, 2016. From L-R: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Vice President Joe Biden, Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama asked Republican congressional leaders for suggestions on a Supreme Court nominee during a meeting on Tuesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Obama met with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, both Republicans, in the Oval Office to discuss a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The president ... gave everyone in the room, Democrats and Republicans, the opportunity to put forward their own suggestions for potential Supreme Court nominees,” Earnest said at a news briefing. “The president didn’t guarantee that he would choose that person, but the president did indicate that he would take seriously any recommendations that either Democrats or Republicans had to put forward.”

Earnest declined to say whether any Republican congressional leaders, who have said the top court seat should remain vacant until Obama’s successor takes office next year, offered any names. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the judiciary panel, also attended the meeting.

Reporting by Clarece Polke; Editing by Mohammad Zargham

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