Republicans gear up for Supreme Court battle after Scalia's death

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks at an event sponsored by the Federalist Society in New YorkBy Doina Chiacu and Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates hardened their positions on Sunday on blocking a move by President Barack Obama to fill the Supreme Court seat left by the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, a lifetime appointment that would help decide some of the most divisive issues facing Americans. “We ought to make the 2016 election a referendum on the Supreme Court,” U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The normally nine-justice court is set to decide this year its first major abortion case in nearly a decade, as well as cases on voting rights, affirmative action and immigration. Scalia, 79, died on Saturday at a West Texas resort.

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