Obama Says ‘Constitution is Pretty Clear’ About SCOTUS Nominee

PHOTO: President Barack Obama speaks to reporters about the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Feb. 13, 2016.PlayPablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
WATCH President Obama and the Battle Over the Supreme Court

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. –- Despite vocal opposition from Senate Republicans, President Obama said Tuesday he is moving forward with his plan to nominate a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

"The Constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now," Obama said. "Historically, this has not been viewed as a question. There's no unwritten laws that say it can only be done on off years."

President Obama said he was sympathetic to the political situation facing Republicans, noting that his nominee to replace Scalia would be a “deciding vote” that would change the balance of the court.

However, he also noted that since it is the highest court in the land, it is imperative that a vacancy be filled.

“That we’re even discussing this I think is a measure of how unfortunately the venom and rancor in Washington is preventing us in getting some basic work done,” Obama said.

Obama made the remarks in his first press conference since Scalia passed away Saturday. Before taking questions, the president delivered remarks marking the conclusion of the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit at Sunnylands.