The death of one of the most conservative members of the US Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia, has sparked arguments over the process to find his successor.
President Barack Obama said he would nominate a replacement.
But the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have called for a delay until after the election.
Before Justice Scalia’s death, the US high court had a conservative 5-4 majority.
It succeeded in stalling major efforts by the Obama administration on climate change and immigration.
With places on the Supreme Court now balanced 4-4 between liberals and conservatives, the fight for influence in one of the highest forums for decision-making in the US promises to be as fraught as the current presidential race.