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The Latest: GOP candidates note passing of Justice Scalia
February 14, 2016 02:52 GMT

Eds: Updates with GOP debate. With AP Photos.

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (all times local):

9:45 p.m.:

The death of Justice Antonin Scalia was the first topic of the Republican debate in South Carolina. After a moment of silence in tribute to Scalia, the Republican candidates argued over whether President Barack Obama should nominate a successor or leave that to the next president.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he fully expects Obama to try to nominate a replacement for Scalia but says that it's up to Congress to "delay, delay, delay." Trump says if he were president, he would want to try to nominate a justice, too, but that it's up to the Senate to stop Obama.

John Kasich is also advising the president to hold off on selecting a successor because he says it would further divide the country

Ted Cruz is assuring voters that he is the best candidate to pick a successor to Scalia.

Jeb Bush is deviating from some of his rivals, saying that he wants "a strong executive" who is willing to make court nominations. But Bush says he doubts Obama will offer a "consensus" nominee the Senate would accept.

8:55 p.m.:

President Barack Obama says he plans to fulfill his constitutional responsibility and nominate a successor to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

In a direct rebuttal to Senate Republicans, Obama says there is plenty of time for the Senate to confirm his choice. Some Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, say the decision should rest with the next president in January 2017.

Obama pointedly calls the decision "bigger than any one party." He says it is about democracy.

Obama is praising the late justice as a brilliant legal mind who influenced generation of lawyers and students.

8:15 p.m.:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is praising Justice Antonin Scalia as a "dedicated public servant," even as she notes she does not share his conservative views.

Scalia was found dead Saturday at a private home in Texas.

Clinton says Republicans calling for the seat to remain vacant until the next president enters office "dishonor our Constitution."

She says that the Senate has a responsibility to confirm a new justice and cannot abdicate that responsibility for partisan political reasons.

Clinton is in the midst of a weekend campaign swing through Nevada.

7 p.m.:

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's death has quickly sparked a heated debate over whether President Barack Obama should nominate a replacement.

The leader of the Senate, Republican Mitch McConnell, says the nomination should fall to the next president. The Republican-led Senate would confirm any nominee by Obama.

Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio also say Obama should hold off on a nomination.

Democrats immediately raised objections. The Senate's top Democrat, Harry Reid, says it would be "unprecedented in recent history" for the Supreme Court to go a year with a vacancy and urged Obama to send the Senate a nominee right away.

Leaders in both parties are likely to use the vacancy to implore voters to nominate presidential candidates with the best chance of winning in November's general election.

6:55 p.m.:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Supreme Court vacancy created by the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia should not be filled until a new president takes office.

In a statement Saturday, McConnell mourned Scalia, calling him an "unwavering champion of a timeless document that unites each of us as Americans" -- the Constitution. He offered condolences to the Scalia family.

The leader of the Republican-controlled Senate sent a clear message to President Barack Obama that if he nominates a successor to Scalia, that individual is unlikely to win Senate confirmation.

McConnell says the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next justice, and the vacancy should not be filled until after a new president takes office in January 2017.

6:50 p.m.

Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the Supreme Court, has died. He was 79.

The U.S. Marshals Service in Washington confirmed Scalia's death at a private residence in the Big Bend area of West Texas.

The service's spokeswoman, Donna Sellers, says Scalia had retired for the evening and was found dead Saturday morning when he did not appear for breakfast.