Sen. Rand Paul likely to deny any of Pres. Obama’s Supreme Court nominations

Sen. Rand Paul greets supporters following his town hall meeting at the Hilton at Lexington Green on Saturday.

Will Wright

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul echoed Republican vows to prevent President Barack Obama from nominating Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement during a town hall meeting in Lexington on Saturday.

Paul focused his speech on government waste before taking questions from the crowd of about 100 people, but he also took time to address Scalia’s death and how it could affect the federal system.

The Senate must approve President Obama’s nomination for a new Supreme Court justice. Paul said he has a hard time seeing himself approving any nomination from a president who has refused to work with Congress.

“Had he been behaving in a way that was constructive, coming to Congress and working with Congress and compromising on legislation, … I might have a different attitude,” Paul said. “I can’t imagine how I would vote for his nominee.”

Citing an executive order on immigration law and the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on power plants, Paul said the executive branch is becoming too powerful, eliminating the checks and balances of the different branches of government.

The executive branch has grown “one thousandfold” more powerful than Congress, Paul said.

The crowd applauded Paul for his conviction to stop President Obama’s nomination, and they appeared to be mostly supportive of the senator.

Paul’s speech centered around government waste and the growing national debt. He blamed the political system as a whole, saying the debt continues to rise no matter which party is in power.

The national debt nearly doubled under President George W. Bush, and has followed the same trend under President Obama.

“I still think that the debt is the number one threat to our national security,” Paul said. “Maybe there’s a systemic problem that we need to address in government.”

Contrary to popular belief, Paul said Republicans and Democrats get along well in Washington, and little gridlock exists.

Democrats want more domestic spending, and Republicans want more defense spending. Rather than limiting each other, both parties get what they want, spend and borrow all the money they want, and cause the national debt to soar.

Paul said Republicans are the loudest voices for more spending. They call for a larger defense budget but can only pay for it by borrowing money from foreign nations like China.

“They say we won’t be safe unless we have more spending,” Paul said. “My question is, if we borrow from China, and you go further into debt, does that make you a stronger nation?”