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GREENVILLE, S.C. — Ohio Gov. John Kasich reiterated on Sunday his wish that President Obama does not nominate a replacement for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, saying the 2016 election would allow the public to have a unique role in choosing his successor.
"I just think at a time when the country is so divided, it would just be great if the president didn't send somebody forward and we had an election,” Kasich told Chuck Todd on "Meet The Press" Sunday. "And then everybody would be clear about what they want in the next Supreme Court justice. But I guess it's not going to go that way."
"Then the people actually have had some say," Kasich added. "It's really kind of a unique thing when you think about it, Chuck. It's unique to say that the public itself is going to have sort of an indirect vote on who's going to be a Supreme Court justice."
Scalia passed away Saturday, sending the political world into a tailspin as a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court opened up in the last year of President Obama’s term in the middle of a hotly contested presidential election.
During Saturday night’s debate, Kasich lamented the quick politicization of his death as conversation swirled over how President Obama and the U.S. Senate should act.
"I do want to take a second as we reflected on Judge Scalia, it's amazing,” Kasich said at the debate. “It's not even two minutes after the death of Judge Scalia, nine children here today, their father, didn't wake up. His wife sad, but, I just wish we hadn't run so fast into politics."
As Governor of Ohio, Kasich noted on Meet The Press that he has to deal with legislators and their decisions and that he tries to avoid telling them what to do. "I understand the president has prerogative here,” he said. “I got that. The Senate has a prerogative, too, of course."
President Obama has said he intends to nominate a new justice to the court, but it’s up to the Republican Senate to confirm his nominee.
"You and I both know in the real world, they're not going to confirm anybody," said Kasich. "Unless they pick somebody who's so beloved that everybody goes, "That's great," okay, I don't think that's going to happen."
During Saturday’s debate, Kasich told the audience he did not want the United States to become embroiled in civil wars overseas, and when asked about Syria on Meet The Press, he said, “I would only go to Syria to destroy ISIS."
"I would not use U.S. troops to depose Assad,” he continued. “But I would support the rebels there. It's okay to support those people who share your view. But for the United States to be embroiled in a civil war in Syria against Assad I think is a big mistake."
Leading up to his strong second place finish in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, Kasich was on a long kick of avoiding attacking other candidates, and tells crowds now that his finish means “the light overcame the darkness."
Kasich pointed to his crowds in South Carolina — which are substantially larger than any crowds he saw in New Hampshire – as responding well to his reluctance to go on the attack.
"People are grabbing onto you, saying, 'Please stay positive. Please don't get into these fights,'" he said. "And I get my energy by being for things. I don't get my energy by being against things. And I think people tend to get negative when they're not selling their own positive."
"It works out for me, great,” he added. “If it doesn't work out for me, I'll get to spend more time with my family. But, look, I want to win. And we're doing well."